Story by DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Sports Director
Baylor men’s basketball avenged its Feb. 6 loss by defeating Texas 84-83 in overtime Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center after mounting a comeback in the final 10 minutes of regulation
Sophomore forward Mario Kegler was named player of the game after scoring a career-high 24 points. Kegler hit four of Baylor’s 12 3-pointers and went 6-for-8 on free throws, including two in overtime to steal the win for the Bears.
The Bears made a comeback late in the second half to cut down the Longhorn’s 19-point lead and tie the game at 71 on a jumper by freshman guard Jared Butler with 27 seconds left in regular time.
Head coach Scott Drew said he still believed Baylor had a chance despite the deficit.
“Well, [play-by-play announcer] John Morris told me when we were down 17 or 19 the probability was 99 percent we’d lose the game, so I quickly responded, ‘So you’re telling me we’ve got a chance,'” Drew said. “I really credit the guys for persevering and fighting. I thought first half, [Texas] did a great job frustrating us, made a lot of shots, and controlled the tempo.”
Junior guard Devonte Bandoo was right behind Kegler, scoring 18 points, hitting four 3-pointers and was 4-for-4 on free throws as well as 5-for-6 on field goals. Butler followed with 15 points and made three 3-pointers.
Senior guard King McClure came off the bench, marking his first time back on the court since Feb. 6 due to a knee injury.
It was a back-and-forth first half, the lead changing nine times, four within the first five minutes. Kegler opened up the game with a jumper but Texas responded with a 3-pointer. The Longhorns made a 13-0 run over four minutes and at one point had a 14-point lead late in the half.
Baylor senior guard Makai Mason cut down UT’s lead with a 3-pointer and was then knocked down as he attempted another 3-pointer and hit all three free throws.
The Bears entered halftime trailing 40-29.
As Texas built their lead up through the second half, Baylor fought their way to a comeback going on a 6-0 run over a minute with seven left in the game. They scored 42 points in the second to send the game into a five-minute overtime.
Butler made a crucial 3-pointer with the Bears down six points in overtime and sophomore forward Mark Vital brought them within one with a jumper. Kegler was fouled with three seconds left in the game to give the Bears an opportunity to take the win. Texas head coach Shaka Smart said making it a one possession game was an important play for Baylor, and that’s what Butler did with the three.
“It’s so important,” Butler said in response. “I hit maybe two threes, but [the Longhorns] were hitting threes that we needed, and I felt like I needed to get a three for us too.”
The Bears out-rebounded the Longhorns 42 to 29, with 23 offensive rebounds, scoring 23 second chance points. Junior forward Freddie Gillespie led with 11 rebounds, seven of them offensive.
Baylor hits the road to face Kansas State on Saturday and will then play its last home game of the season against Oklahoma State on Wednesday before finishing off the regular season against Kansas.