By DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer
AUSTIN – Baylor men’s basketball fell to the University of Texas 84-72 Wednesday night in Austin to snap its six-game winning streak.
The Bears faced a Texas team that has had an up-and-down season, beating teams like the University of North Carolina and the University of Kansas but only amassing a 13-10 record thus far. Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew said the Longhorns pulled together to create scoring opportunities against the Bears.
“I thought Texas really came out and took it to us,” Drew said. “Probably most disappointed in the rebounding effort. … First half that’s been our staple and defensively we didn’t have any answers, so really credit to them with a good game plan.”
The Bears’ final field goal percentage was 49.1 percent. They were 9-for-15 on 3-point shots with a 38.9 percentage and finished the game with 14 turnovers. Baylor tied Texas in rebounds with 29, but had only 19 defensive rebounds as opposed to 21 for the Longhorns.
Baylor senior guard Makai Mason, who dropped 40 points against Texas Christian University on Saturday, missed several shots, scoring five points in the game, but going 3-for-3 on free throws when he was fouled by Texas senior guard Kerwin Roach II in the first half. Drew said Mason suffered an injury in his right foot during practice on Monday, which may have been a factor in his performance and limited game time Wednesday night.
“He hurt his foot two day ago in practice and we tried to give it a go. Obviously, he wasn’t himself out there, so that answers that question,” Drew said.
The Bears struggled in the first half against the Longhorns, falling behind by 15 points at the end of the half. Sophomore forward Mark Vital struck first for the Bears with a layup, but Texas quickly took the lead with a 3-pointer not long after and continued to add to their lead, extending it to 16 toward the end of the half.
Baylor had eight turnovers in the first half and 14 personal fouls while playing a man defense against the Longhorns. Drew received a technical foul which led to two missed free throws by Texas freshman guard Courtney Ramey.
The Bears attempted to rally in the second half, coming within eight points of the Longhorns after a 17-point deficit, but Texas continued to dominate with several 3-point shots. The Longhorns topped off their win with a couple of free throws off a foul called on Vital.
The only Bears to score in the double digits were Vital with 14, sophomore forward Mario Kegler with 10, and freshman guard Jared Butler with 13. Butler said he didn’t feel like there was a difference in the way they approached this game compared to last six games, Texas just came ready to play.
“I just think Texas came out, they played with a lot of energy,” Butler said. “They got after us, you can tell picking us up full court. You can just tell they came to play, they punched us, and we didn’t punch back, and that was the difference.”
Baylor falls a game behind first place in the Big 12 to Kansas State whom they will face at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Ferrell Center. Drew said everyone’s goal in the Big 12 is to win, and if you don’t fight you don’t have a chance.
“I think if you’re not a competitor you don’t want to win,” Drew said. “I think everyone in the Big 12 has wanted to have a chance to win a championship. Each and every night is a dog fight and if you don’t bring your A-game, you don’t even have a chance to win that game let alone a conference championship.”