By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
No. 3 Baylor men’s basketball handled business against No. 21 University of Texas, winning 68-61 Monday night in the final game played at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Bears (25-5, 13-4 Big 12) swept the season series with UT (21-9, 10-7 Big 12) for the sixth time in the past 12 seasons, and have now beaten the Longhorns 12 out of the last 13 matchups.
Senior guard James Akinjo flirted with a triple-double, leading the team in points, rebounds and assists. Akinjo scored 19 points while also contributing a career-high eight rebounds to go along with seven assists. Junior guard Adam Flagler finished with 19 points as well.
Baylor shot 40.7% from the floor and converted for 21 second-chance points. The squad shot 40.9% from deep, including 60% in the second half.
To start the game, the Bears jumped out to a 5-2 advantage, but couldn’t hold on for long as they hit a dry spell. A six-minute scoring drought combined with starting 4-of-15 from the floor allowed UT to jump out ahead.
However, the Bears were able to keep it close enough to make a late first half push. A 7-0 run helped Baylor retake the lead with a minute and a half left in the first. They were unable to hold onto the lead, going into halftime down 30-27.
At the break, Brown led the way with 12 points and four rebounds. The Bears shot 44% in the half and 25% from beyond the arc.
The majority of the second half consisted of a constant back-and-forth between the two teams with neither team truly gaining an edge. Baylor was able to recapture the lead five minutes into the half and maintained control for the remainder of the contest, despite the Longhorns tying it at 54, as the defending champs responded with a 9-0 run to widen the gap with just under two minutes to play. The Bears were able to finish it off at the charity stripe, nailing seven free throws in the final minutes to give them the 68-61 victory.
The Bears return home to Waco to face off against Iowa State University (20-9, 7-9 Big 12) at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Ferrell Center.