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Baylor Falls to Texas 84-72

Baylor needs to win on Saturday

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Texas Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor (15-7, 6-3) lost to Texas (13-10, 5-5) 84-72. Baylor takes on Kansas State at 5:00 on Saturday in Waco. That one airs on ESPN2.

The first half didn’t go Baylor’s way on offense. The Bears turned it over eight times and shot 44%. Makai Mason, off a 9-of-12 game from three and 40 point performance against TCU, went 1-of-7 from the field in the first half. Texas pressed, which sped Baylor up, and the Bears missed some easier shots too.

The first half really didn’t go Baylor’s way on defense. The Bears were whistled for 14 first half fouls. Scott Drew picked up a technical after complaining about the whistle. The Longhorns hit 13-of-19 free throws in the half, the starters went 11-of-14 from the field and Texas went 4-of-10 from three. Texas ended the half with 45 points, as Baylor couldn’t handle dribble penetration. Baylor deserved to trail at halftime—and by a decent margin—but the Longhorns seemed to get more leeway driving to the hoop than Baylor did. Add it all up, and Texas led Baylor 45-30 at halftime.

Baylor made a few second half runs. The Bears cut it to eight, but then Jase Febres nailed two 3-point shots. The Bears cut it to single digits again, but Kerwin Roach didn’t get called for an egregious push-off, Matt Mayer bricked a three, then the Longhorns ran the floor and scored.

The Bears tried different lineups. They stayed small, and they went big—inserting Flo Thamba for Mason. They tried playing man-to-man, and they tried playing zone. The Bears couldn’t overcome an exceptional shooting day by Texas and a friendly whistle for the Longhorns. Texas would have won without that whistle—they played like the team that beat North Carolina, not the one that lost to Radford—but they wouldn’t have blown the Bears out.

This loss is survivable. But the Bears still have dreams of contending for a Big 12 title. They’re going to need to win Saturday against Kansas State to make that possible.