No. 7 Texas beats Baylor 60-54 to end Big 12 skid
WACO, Texas (AP)—LaceDarius Dunn became the Big 12’s career scoring leader in his last regular-season home game for Baylor, and even he was impressed by something else: the dominating inside performance by Texas freshman Tristan Thompson.
“He’s just a monster,” Dunn said. “He’s an incredible player.”
Thompson had 19 points and 13 rebounds, nine of them on the offensive end and several leading to spectacular putback dunks, and the seventh-ranked Longhorns pulled out a 60-54 victory Saturday night that marked another blow to Baylor’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Texas (25-6, 13-3) was already set as the No. 2 seed for the Big 12 tournament next week, but the Longhorns had lost three of four and were coming off consecutive losses for the first time this season.
“It was a great win for us,” said coach Rick Barnes, who is 26-4 against Baylor. “Obviously on a night when there was a lot of excitement in the building. LaceDarius Dunn had a terrific career. … We told our team that we had to make him work for everything he got, but we can’t let other guys come and hurt us. And we were just terrific on the boards.”
The Longhorns had a 44-29 rebounding advantage—with more offensive (23) than defensive rebounds. They scored 31 second-chance points.
Dunn slumped in his chair with a sullen look after the game in which he scored 22 points and broke Andre Emmett’s Big 12 scoring record.
A year after getting within one victory of their first NCAA Final Four appearance in 60 years and setting a school record with 28 wins before losing to eventual national champion Duke in a regional final, the Bears’ hopes of another chance are in serious jeopardy.
Baylor (18-12, 7-9) goes into the Big 12 tournament seeded seventh and might need to make it to the championship game—or even win the tournament for the league’s automatic bid—just to get back into the NCAA field.
“We’re more than capable. We have to keep our heads up as long as we have games,” Dunn said. “We dug ourselves in a bind right now and know what we have to do to come out of the hole.”
The Bears have dropped five of seven games and have losses to each of the bottom four teams in the conference standings.
“Right now, we’re not peaking, that’s for sure,” coach Scott Drew said.
The Longhorns were down by nine in the second half after Dunn scored 12 points in a 22-6 run over a 7-minute stretch that spanned the closing 3 1/2 minutes of the first half and the start of the second half, putting the Bears up 34-25.
Thompson then had one of his putback dunks and an inside basket to start the Longhorns’ comeback, and they finally got even at 38-all when Gary Johnson hit two free throws with 10:47 left.
Johnson had 15 points and Jordan Hamilton 14 for the Longhorns, who matched a school record with their 13th Big 12 victory. They started 11-0 in league play before losing three of four heading into the regular-season finale.
After two free throws by Dunn put Baylor up 45-43 with 6 minutes left, Hamilton tied the game with a short hook. Dunn then missed a 3-pointer and Hamilton made a 3 from the left corner in front of the Texas bench to put the Longhorns ahead to stay.
Dunn, the only Baylor senior, needed five points to break the Big 12 record of 2,256 set by Emmett for Texas Tech from 2001-04.
Dunn made a basket on Baylor’s opening possession, and another with 9 1/2 minutes left in the first half before getting fouled 6 minutes later. Dunn missed his first free throw, but made the second with 3:34 left to break the scoring record and start the Bears’ big run.
After the game, Emmett’s mother was introduced at midcourt and read a letter of congratulations from her son, who is playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Baylor freshman Perry Jones had nine points and 11 rebounds.
Texas led 19-12 on Johnson’s three-point play with 3:49 left in the first half.
The Bears got their first lead when Dunn had a rebound and drove the length of the court for a short jumper that made it 21-19. Thompson then had a putback slam to tie the game before Dunn hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left for a 24-21 halftime lead.
Dunn had another 3 to start the second half and hit three in the game, moving within two of matching the Big 12 record of 389 by Texas’ A.J. Abrams from 2005-09.
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