By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
No. 11 Baylor men’s basketball fell short to No. 10 University of Texas 76-71 Monday night in The Moody Center in Austin. The Bears’ loss snaps a six-game winning streak as the team moves to 16-6 (5-4 Big 12). It marks just the second time that the defending Big 12 champs have lost to the Longhorns across the last 14 meetings.
“That’s a top-10 team, that’s a Big 12 game,” head coach Scott Drew said after the game. “It’s great coaches, great players, no one’s packing up and going home when they get down, especially on the road for us. To win a road game, you have to earn it, and we didn’t earn it tonight.”
Four players in the green and gold scored in double figures, led by junior guard LJ Cryer and freshman guard Keyonte George with 19 and 17 points, respectively. Junior forward Jalen Bridges followed with 13 points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Adam Flagler finished with 11 points.
As a team, the Bears shot 36.8% from the field, missing 43 of their 68 shot attempts.
“We’re not getting the shots we want,” Cryer said of the shooting woes. “We want to get good, better, [but mostly] best [shots]. Right now I guess we’re taking good shots instead of great shots, and sometimes they’re not even good shots. So, we just have to do a better job of getting into the paint and finding each other.”
Baylor was the first to get on the board after a quick three from Bridges, helping the team get to an early 8-5 lead. This would be its largest lead of the game, spending over 33 minutes of play trailing.
The Longhorns (18-4, 7-2 Big 12) had some momentum, but a pair of first half threes from Flagler helped keep the Bears hanging around. With just under a minute left in the first, George stopped on a dime and pulled a shot from beyond the arc to cut UT’s lead to 38-36 going into halftime.
Coming out of the break, Baylor struggled to break the seal on the basket and Texas was able to maintain its control on the game with help from an 8-0 run. However, over the later stretches of the second, the backcourt trio of Flagler, Cryer and George continued to come up big when the team needed a big play to stay in the game.
Cryer hit a big three with four minutes left to cut Texas’ lead to four at 65-61. Flagler knocked down a tough layup with his shoe coming off on the takeoff, cutting the squad’s deficit to two points with just over two minutes to play.
With just under a minute to go, George came through in the clutch to bring the Bears within one in the contest’s biggest moments. But their late-game heroics proved to not be enough, as the Bears were defeated 76-71.
Baylor will head back north to host Texas Tech University at noon on Saturday in the Ferrell Center.