It took 50 minutes and each team feeling like they’d blown the game multiple times, but Baylor (16-10, 6-7) beat Texas (15-11, 5-8) for the sixth straight time. After starting 2-7 in the league, Baylor has now won four straight games. Baylor takes on Texas Tech at 6:30 on Saturday in Waco.
Baylor seemed to have the game won in regulation. They led 51-43 with four minutes remaining. But a bad Terry Maston technical foul—and he was wonderful otherwise tonight—gave Texas life. The Longhorns missed both technical foul shots, but they gained possession and scored. Texas will wonder about that stretch. Had Baylor lost, they’d have plenty to wonder about too. But life is full of close moments that decide how our year goes, and Baylor basketball came out on top. Maybe it is this team’s year.
In the second overtime, Jo Lual-Acuil made a put-back dunk to give Baylor a 74-73 lead. Kerwin Roach drove the court, and Jake Lindsey defended him. Roach fired at the hoop and came up short.
Neither team shot well from beyond the arc. Texas started 1-of-13 from three, and they finished 3-of-19. Baylor made that seem respectable, as they finished just 4-of-15 from the perimeter.
Maston was absolute money tonight. Mo Bamba was the only Longhorn to have a positive plus/minus in the first half, and he shut down the Bears inside. To counter that, the Bears isolated Maston on Texas’ other big men. He finished with 26 points on just 17 shots. He led the Bears in plus/minus and was one of their only reliable options in the second half, overtime and double overtime. The technical was really stupid. But Baylor doesn’t come close to winning this game without Maston. He deserves celebrating tonight.
Manu Lecomte was superb in late clock situations. Twice Baylor couldn’t find Maston in the overtimes. The Bears were left with less than five seconds on the clock, and Lecomte found a way to make shots. He finished just 5-of-15 from the field, but every shot he made seemed significant. After questions about him being clutch started spouting off from folks who embody ignorance, he hit two giant threes to lead Baylor over Kansas, and he made shots that kept Baylor in this one.
Tonight was ugly. It was beautiful. And it was stressful. It was everything a rivalry should be.
This was a fantastic win for the Bears. They’ve now swept Oklahoma State and Texas. They’ve ended a five year losing streak to Kansas. And if they keep this up, they’ll have a five year streak of making the NCAA Tournament.