Texas is close, but not good enough against No. 2 Baylor in battle of Big 12’s best

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas scratched, clawed and dunked its way to a second half lead on No. 2 Baylor Tuesday night. The Longhorns run looked like it could be the spark to a massive upset to shake the foundation of the Big 12.

It wasn’t enough. Baylor is just that good.

Baylor hit more than half of its 3-pointers and suffocated the Longhorns offense in the final minutes for a 83-69 win over No. 6 Texas. This was the highest matchup of ranked teams at the Frank Erwin Center since 2003 when No. 6 Texas beat No. 5 Oklahoma.

Baylor (17-0, 9-0 Big 12) shot 52.4% from 3-point range on 11-21 shooting. This season, the Longhorns’ 3-point defense has been good, holding opponents to a season average below 30%. Davion Mitchell hit five of his seven attempts, scoring a game-high 27 points. Jared Butler hit three of his eight attempts, finishing with 21 points.

The Longhorns nearly matched Baylor at the 3-point line, going 10-22. Free throws and turnovers ruined Texas’ chances. Texas was a measly 3-14 from the free throw line and committed 17 turnovers to Baylor’s 11.

Texas (11-4, 5-3 Big 12) had their fair share of runs — and they had some good ones to keep this game competitive into the second half. A 13-4 burst pushed Texas to its first lead of the game at 47-45. Andrew Jones capped off the run with a fast break dunk, adding two to his career-high 25 point night.

Baylor answered with five straight made shots, going on a 16-4 run to take the Bears’ lead back to double-digits at 61-51.

Within Baylor’s run, Greg Brown had a simply monstrous dunk that should’ve swung momentum toward Texas. Instead, Brown was called for a technical foul for staring down Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua after the slam. Butler hit the two foul shots and Mitchell followed with a layup seven seconds later to completely silence Texas’ spirits.

Courtney Ramey hit a 3-pointer at 7:50 to go, cutting the deficit to 65-59. Baylor’s Mitchell and Adam Flagler called game moments later, hitting 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions for a 71-59 lead.

Texas didn’t get within nine points of Baylor for the rest of the game.

Because of COVID-19 issues in other programs, Texas was playing only its second game in 17 days. The Longhorns have had their own COVID-19 issues during that time, but never to the point where they had to postpone a game.

Texas has now lost two straight games after falling to OU last week at home. Shaka Smart’s team will travel to Oklahoma State for a Saturday game.

For the first time since Dec. 20, fans were allowed to be inside the Erwin Center to watch a Texas basketball game. The athletics department paused fan attendance for most of January due to rising COVID-19 cases in the area.

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