Men’s Basketball Tops No. 24/23 Baylor for Fifth Straight Win

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Texas Longhorns Sports Stories
With a 74-60 win over the Bears, the Longhorns have now won three consecutive games against Top 25 teams for the first time in school history. (image via UT Athletics)
With a 74-60 win over the Bears, the Longhorns have now won three consecutive games against Top 25 teams for the first time in school history. (image via UT Athletics)

WACO, Texas (AP) -- Texas freshman guard Isaiah Taylor scored a career-high 27 points and the Longhorns stretched their winning streak to five games with a 74-60 victory over slumping No. 24 Baylor on Saturday.

(Also Read: Aldridge, Durant Named to Initial 2014-16 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Roster)

The Longhorns (16-4, 5-2 Big 12) have won three consecutive games against Top 25 teams for the first time in school history.

Gary Franklin had 14 points and Taurean Prince added 12 for Baylor (13-6, 1-5), which led only once before losing its fourth straight. It is the Bears' longest losing streak since dropping six in a row five years ago, and they have lost consecutive games at the Ferrell Center after a 13-game home winning streak.

When the Bears got within 46-39 midway through the second half, Taylor scored seven points in a span of 76 seconds.

Taylor's spurt for Texas began with a three-point play, when he drove and made a tough short jumper from the side of the rim while being fouled. Taylor penetrated for another short jumper and then after Prince's slam for Baylor, Taylor scored again to push the lead back to 11 points, 53-42, with 8:47 left.

Jonathan Holmes had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Longhorns and Cameron Ridley had eight points and 14 rebounds.

Texas has a week before playing again, next Saturday at home against Big 12-leading and No. 8 Kansas. The Bears were coming off a 78-68 loss at the Jayhawks last Monday night.

The Longhorns lost their first two Big 12 games, including an 87-74 loss at No. 11 Oklahoma State. They then won games over Texas Tech and West Virginia before their current run through ranked teams. After a 10-point win over then-No. 8 Iowa State last weekend, they won Tuesday night over No. 22 Kansas State when Holmes made a game-winning catch-and-shoot 3-pointer at the buzzer.

It was the 241st meeting against Baylor in the most-played series for both teams whose campuses are located about 100 miles apart along Interstate 35. Texas has a 159-82 series lead, and had won 24 straight until 2009.

Baylor had its only lead on Prince's jumper with 4 1/2 minutes left that made it 22-21.

A minute later, Taylor handed the ball to Prince Ibeh, who had a powerful two-handed slam that put the Longhorns ahead to stay. That basket was set up when Kendal Yancy stole the ball from Prince. Yancy had another steal, also against Prince, that led to two free throws and a 27-22 lead with 2 minutes left.

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The Bears were within a point on Brady Heslip's breakway layup, but Martez Walker made the first 3-pointer of the game with 19 seconds left in the first half for a 31-27 lead.

Texas has the Big 12's longest consecutive games streak of made 3-pointers at 776. Baylor is second at 713, though both teams struggled from beyond the arc against each other -- both shot 18 percent.

Baylor was 0 for 9 on 3s in the first half, and finished 3 of 17 after coming into the game as the Big 12 leader shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. Texas was 2 of 11.

 

Postgame Notes

• With today's win over No. 24 Baylor, Texas has now defeated three consecutive AP Top 25 opponents for the first time in school history (No. 8 Iowa State – Jan. 18, No. 22 Kansas State – Jan. 21).
• Texas is now 159-82 in the all-time series against Baylor, its most-played opponent. The Longhorns are 28-7 against the Bears in the Rick Barnes era.
• UT is off to its best 20-game start (16-4) to a season since 2010-11 (started 17-3). It marks the seventh time in the Rick Barnes era (last 16 years) that the Horns have opened the year with at least 16 wins in their first 20 contests (18-2 in 2009-10; 17-3 in 2003-04, 2005-06, 2010-11; 16-4 in 2002-03, 2007-08).
• Through 20 games last year, the Longhorns had posted a 9-11 overall record, including a 1-6 mark in Big 12 Conference play. This season, the Horns are off to a 16-4 start, including a 5-2 mark in league play.
• The Longhorns held the Bears to just 25.0 percent from the field (6-24) in the first half, including an 0-for-9 mark from three-point range.
• UT held Baylor to 32.1% FG shooting for the game (18-of-56). Texas has held 12 of its first 20 opponents to under 40% FG shooting.
• Texas outshot its opponent from the field (44.8 percent to 32.1 percent) for the 15th time this season and is 14-1 in those games.
• Baylor's 3 three-point field goals made are the fewest by a Texas opponent this season. UT held Baylor to just 17.6 (3-of-17) percent from beyond the arc.
• The Longhorns held the Bears to a season-low 60 points.
• UT posted a 43-40 advantage on the glass. Texas has outrebounded 15 of its first 20 opponents and is 13-2 in those games.
• The Horns are averaging only 9.0 turnovers over the last three games.

 

Javan Felix
• Dished out a game-high five assists against zero turnovers.

 

Jonathan Holmes
• Registered double-figure scoring (14 points) for the 15th time this season and 33rd in his career (82 games).
• Dished out four assists against zero turnovers.

 

Cameron Ridley
• Set a career high with 14 rebounds (previous: 12, twice – last vs. West Virginia, Jan. 13, 2014).
• His 14 rebounds are the most by a Longhorn this season.
• Recorded his seventh double-figure rebounding game this season and 10th in his career (53 games).
• Led Texas in rebounding for the seventh time this season.

 

Isaiah Taylor
• Set a career high with 27 points (previous: 17 vs. Mercer, Nov. 8).
• Reached double figures in scoring for the 15th time in his career (20 games).
• He was one point shy of matching the top individual game by a Longhorn this season (Javan Felix – 28 vs. Oklahoma, Jan. 4).

Postgame Quotes From the Coach

On their perimeter defense…
"I really thought there were a lot of good things that happened. We did foul too much in the first half, but overall it was very good. We have a couple of guys we expect to be aggressive. I think they have a hard time sometimes from really being aggressive to getting somewhere in between. It was a total team defensive win, no question."

On having very few starters on the floor at the end of the first-half…

"It was important, maybe the most important part of the game that we were able to hold it down right there. We have had to deal with that a number of times. We don't want to do it. We changed some defense to try to get out of it without getting some of the guys into further foul trouble. That was an important stretch in the first half."

On the biggest change after winning 16 games all last season and then being 16 after 20 games so far this season…

"I guess I went from dumb to being smarter. The bottom line is the players. These guys have done it all year. They made a commitment as soon as the season was over with and those guys they have been unbelievable. The young guys, you have to give them a lot of credit because they came in with no sense of entitlement."

(Source: UT Athletics)

Question for the fans: After only winning 16 games last season, did you expect this kind of performance (16 wins in 20 games played) from this Longhorns Basketball team?  Sound off below. 

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James Schleicher

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.