WACO — For about 30 minutes Wednesday night, Texas looked darn near unstoppable against Baylor. And that’s playing without two senior starters and a lineup that fans will see next season.
The Longhorns ran up a 19-point lead and were in total cruise control at the Ferrell Center. Then, the final 10 minutes began. And soon thereafter, it was overtime.
Baylor came all the way back and tied things up with two free throws with 2:52 remaining. Then, it became a shot-makers game. Kamaka Hepa buried a 3-pointer for the Horns, but Bears guard Devonte Bandoo hit a trey of his own over the 6-foot-11 Jaxson Hayes.
The two teams traded buckets down the stretch, and UT’s Matt Coleman III missed a potential game-winning runner in the paint at the end of regulation.
Jase Febres hit an amazing step-back jumper with 22 seconds left, and the Horns must’ve thought they were home free. But Jaxson Hayes was called for traveling on an inbound play with seven seconds left in overtime, and Baylor’s Mario Kegler hit two free throws to give the Bears an 84-83 come-from-behind win.
Texas (15-13, 7-8 Big 12) was already on the NCAA Tournament bubble and this wasn’t going to help matters. Baylor (19-9, 10-5) has now posted double-digit league wins for the fourth time in five seasons.
Ramey was sensational in the first half, hitting shots from the banks of the Brazos and slicing through the paint like it was a regatta. He had 15 points before the break on 6-of-7 shooting. It was eerily similar to the wild first half Jase Febres had at the Ferrell Center in his freshman season. He threw a pinpoint pass to Hayes for a mid-air layup, but his lob attempt to Jericho Sims was a tad too tall. Otherwise, he had five assists and one steal before the break.
On a night when it would take a full team effort, that’s what the Horns got. Elijah Mitrou-Long scored on a leaning layup and later dove out of bounds for a loose ball. Coleman got on the floor for a loose ball. Hayes ripped one rebound between two Baylor players. Royce Hamm Jr. came into the game, and Baylor went straight at him on an inbound play. Hamm held his ground and forced a missed shot. It was an excellent effort across the board for most of the night.
Cedar allergies are bad this time of year. The flu bug is even worse. Senior forward Dylan Osetkowski sat and watched the pre-game warmups and said he just wasn’t feeling right before Wednesday’s clash. He ended up not playing. So the Horns were without both of their senior starters. Suspended guard Kerwin Roach II was back in Austin and did not travel with the team. It’s still unclear when he will return. Osetkowski hopes to be back in the lineup this weekend.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
The Horns were furious about their defensive effort in the first half in a loss to the Oklahoma Sooners. They put the clamps on Baylor early. The Bears got out to a 12-9 lead and then, instead of being unable to miss, they were unable to make. Coach Scott Drew’s club had only two field goals in the final 15:20 of the first half — a Freddie Gillespie dunk and Makai Mason 3-pointer. Baylor missed 10 of 12 shots during that span. Texas went on a spurt by making 11-of-14 shots midway through the period and shot almost 60 percent in the first half.
Texas has only two home games remaining in the regular season, and one comes at 1 p.m. Saturday against Iowa State. The Horns and Cyclones had a barnburner in Ames earlier this month. Iowa State came away with a five-point win. After Saturday’s game, Texas then has a quick turnaround with a road trip to Texas Tech on ESPN’s “Big Monday.” Tech almost lost to Oklahoma State in overtime on Wednesday.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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