No. 25 Bears face No. 24 Longhorns in Austin

Photo credit: Sarah Pyo

After an overtime victory over the Iowa State Cyclones, the No. 25 Baylor University men’s basketball team is looking towards a matchup against the No. 24 Texas Longhorns on Saturday.

In their last meeting, the Bears stumbled against the Longhorns in a 67-59 defeat at home in Waco.

This time the Bears will hope to return the favor in Austin at the Frank Erwin Center.

The Bears will look to ride their momentum from their recent victory over Iowa State in which they scored 100 points and shot 54 percent from the field.

The Longhorns are also coming off a big home win against West Virginia and are 3-0 at home against AP top 25 teams.

Both teams are similar, and should provide an interesting matchup on Saturday.

The Bears are 19-7 on the season, while the Longhorns are 17-9, with each team holding a conference record of 8-5.

On offense, Baylor has four players averaging double-digit scoring while the Longhorns have three. Baylor is averaging 47 percent from the field in shooting while Texas is shooting 44 percent.

Baylor’s leading scorer, senior forward Taurean Prince will look to repeat his offensive performance from the last outing against Texas in which he scored 18. Baylor will also hope to see the return of senior forward Rico Gathers, who missed the last game due to illness. The Longhorns had trouble stopping Gathers last time as he scored 20 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.

Baylor will also hope to see a repeat performance from the last game from sophomore forward Johnathan Motley who scored 27 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in the victory over the Cyclones.

One of the Bears keys to victory on Saturday will be to continue to control the boards. The Bears have proven to be a strong rebounding team this season outrebounding opponents by an average margin of 8.5 rebounds per game. In their last outing against Texas, the Bears grabbed 34 rebounds while Texas had 30. A continuation of this trend, and keeping Texas from getting second chances off of offensive rebounds will help the Bears control the pace of the game.

Strong bench play will also be a factor for the Baylor Bears. In their latest victory, the Baylor bench outscored the Cyclones bench 21-0. However, in their last game against Texas, the bench only scored seven points versus Texas’ 20 bench points.

On the defensive side, the Bears will have to find a way to slow down the Longhorn’s leading scorer junior guard Isaiah Taylor who is averaging 15 points a game. Stopping Texas’ senior center Cameron Ridley will also be a challenge for the Bears as he averages a double-double with 12 points a game and 10 rebounds.

Also Baylor will have to limit turnovers, while capitalizing off of turnover opportunities given by Texas. Despite the fact that the Bears only had one more turnover than the Longhorns in their last meeting, they managed to give up 18 points off of turnovers while only scoring seven.

Although the Bears will have their work cut out for them to battle against the home crowd in Austin, they have proven to be a tough team to beat on the road. Baylor boasts a 4-2 conference road record, including wins in Ames, Iowa and Manhattan, Kansas.

This will be the 247th meeting between Baylor and Texas, the first game dating back to the 1905-1906 season. Despite the changes in the game since then, the rivalry between the two schools remains the same. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. CST in Austin and will air on ESPN.