Top-ranked Baylor sets sights on shorthanded Texas

·3 min read

No. 1 Baylor brings a school-record 20-game winning streak when it travels south on I-35 on Monday to take on Texas in Austin in Big 12 Conference action.

If there's a given between the two programs, it's that fireworks can be expected. This time around the Bears are loaded, experienced and ready for whatever the Longhorns, who are in full desperation mode, will bring at them.

Baylor (21-2, 10-0 Big 12) is coming off a tougher-than-expected 78-70 win at home over Oklahoma State on Saturday. Texas (14-9, 4-6) faded in the second half and dropped a 62-57 decision to Texas Tech in Austin, also on Saturday.

The Bears have shown little sign of slowing down, but Oklahoma State has been the closest to solving Baylor, at least in league play. Both times the two teams have played this year it has come down to the final minute -- and both times the Bears have done what they needed to do to win.

MaCio Teague poured in a season-high 24 points and all five starters scored in double figures against the Cowboys, extending the nation's second-longest active win streak behind San Diego State (24).

Jared Butler scored 15 points for Baylor while Mark Vital added 13 points, Freddie Gillespie hit for 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Davion Mitchell tallied 10 for the Bears.

Saturday's win was just as difficult as Baylor's 75-68 win over Oklahoma State on Jan. 18 in Stillwater.

"At the end of the day, there's very few people, players, teams that ever beat a No. 1 team," Baylor coach Scott Drew told the Waco Tribune Herald. "You're never getting their B game, you're not getting their C game, you're not getting their B-plus or A-minus game.

"What makes it tough is that means you've got to be on your A game. And it's hard to be on your A game for 18 conference games. But if you want to win, you have to."

Texas has a penchant for playing well for a half, usually the first, and then wilting down the stretch.

That happened again on Saturday against Texas Tech as the Longhorns led by as many as 16 points in the first half and were still in the game in the final minutes but couldn't seal the deal in a game it really needed to win to have a chance at an NCAA bid.

"As a coach, your job is to set the right example for your team," Texas coach Shaka Smart said. "It's a gut punch, for sure. But if I don't respond, can't expect our guys to respond."

Andrew Jones scored 18 points, 16 of them in the first half, to lead Texas, with Matt Coleman III adding 17 points. Jericho Sims, Texas' force in the paint, fouled out with 3:17 to play with just two points and four rebounds.

"Just have short-term memory," Jones said. "Focus on what we can control and try to be the best versions of ourselves."

The Longhorns lost two starters to injury early in the second half. Kai Jones was helped off with a rolled left ankle and Jase Febres went down with what looked to be a hyperextended left knee. Neither is expected to play on Monday.

--Field Level Media