WACO — The loud “Texas Fight” cheer emanating from the upper reaches of the Ferrel Center was unmistakable.
Texas was the calm, cool customer Monday night en route to a 67-59 victory over No. 15 Baylor.
The Bears were the agitators, trying to harass the Horns into various scrapes. But Kerwin Roach, Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix all hit key free throws in the final minute, 27 seconds. Texas (15-7) improved to 6-3 in Big 12 play and ran its season record to 4-2 against teams in the Associated Press Top 25.
The Longhorns were 8 for 17 from 3-point range and an impressive 17 for 23 at the free throw line.
A whopping 15 NBA scouts made their way to Waco to see an unlikely prospect — Texas center Prince Ibeh. The 6-foot, 11-inch senior has caught scouts’ eye for his size and improved play in January. One Eastern Conference scout said Ibeh could wind up as a legitimate mid-second round pick.
Ibeh let the ball ricochet off his leg for a turnover, and he threw another ball out of bounds. But he finished with nine points, six rebounds and five blocks in 28 minutes.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Talk about balanced scoring. Ten Longhorns scored in the first half with Javan Felix (7 points) leading the way. The most stunning stat? The Horns had 12 assists on 12 made field goals through 20 minutes. When it was all said and done, the Horns had 21 assists on 21 made field goals.
Texas forward Connor Lammert can pick the right time to hit some monster 3-pointers. He drilled one and shushed the Baylor crowd midway through the second half. Then, he drained another with 44 seconds left, giving the Horns a 62-56 lead. Lammert finished the game 3 for 4 from 3-point range with a team-high 15 points.
Well, more like Bear paws down. Rico Gathers threw a sharp elbow and knocked Ibeh down for a personal foul with 16:24 remaining in the second half. Gathers got up and barked at Texas’ Isaiah Taylor. Both players drew a double technical as the officials made it clear this would not get out of hand like last season. Seven players were ejected the last time these two teams met in Austin.
Surprisingly, an NFL scout from the Buffalo Bills was on hand to watch Gathers, a possible tight end should the big man choose football over basketball some day.
Texas returns home this weekend to host Texas Tech at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Erwin Center. The Red Raiders won the first round 82-74 when the two teams met in Lubbock on Jan. 2 in both teams’ conference opener.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.