Slow but steady the group of quality teams at the top of the Big 12 is starting to drift away from the rest of the pack and Baylor, with a 83-60 win over Texas, handing their rivals a third consecutive loss, made it quite clear the Longhorns don’t belong in the conference title discussion.
In the meeting of the #19 and #20 teams, Baylor won against a team ranked 19 in the nation for the second time in eight days, this win coming a week after beating Oklahoma. It still leaves the Bears slightly behind and chasing Kansas, West Virginia and Iowa State, but at least they’re not Texas, who seem to be slipping from their early season expectations, losing to a ranked Big 12 team for a third consecutive game, picking up their fifth conference loss of the season.
Things went awry for Texas right from the start, and their attempt to climb out of the hole through 3-pointers didn’t really work out. They shot just 5-of-26 from beyond the arc and 38.6% from the field. Jonathan Holmes, leading the team with 17 points, made only 1-of-7 attempts from 3-point range. Baylor took their share of 3-pointers as well but made 12-of-22 in a game with plenty of offensive rebounds (35 combined) but only one team to really take advantage of them.
Kenny Chery led Baylor with 23 points including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Royce O’Neal scored 20 points to go with 8 rebounds and Rico Gathers provided a very difficult figure to deal with in the paint. He did score just 8 points but grabbed 15 rebounds, six of them on offense. Johnathan Motley scored 13 points and so did Taurean Price coming off the bench, while Texas got only 10 points from all five of their second unit players.
In short, Baylor played unselfish, smart basketball. They finished with 24 assists and only 9 turnovers, helping them shooting an excellent 48.4% from the field thanks to a lot of easy shots. The moment they start winning these big games on the road, something they’ve failed to do thus far this season, we’ll know that we can take them a bit more seriously when thinking about tournaments and possible titles.