Texas coach Shaka Smart was impressed how his players stood tall at Baylor on Monday night and stood up to the bruising Rico Gathers.
“I think they’re growing in their believe in themselves and each other,” Smart said. “Sometimes you’re as tough as you think you are. We’re just trying to build that.”
The Longhorns captured a 67-59 win over the 15th-ranked Bears and now sit a half-game out of first place. Texas (15-7 overall, 6-3 Big 12) next hosts Texas Tech at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Erwin Center.
Smart left no doubt how he felt about Gathers elbowing UT center Prince Ibeh and knocking the 6-11 senior to the floor early in the second half. Gathers got into it with Isaiah Taylor, and both players earned technical fouls.
“I’m not really supposed to comment on that,” Smart said. “But I didn’t like the play.”
Most impressive was how Texas attacked Baylor’s zone defense. The Horns had one of the best offensive games of the season, totaling up 21 assists on 21 made field goals. Isaiah Taylor finished with 12 points, Javan Felix had nine and Kerwin Roach added seven more. Connor Lammert went 3 for 4 from 3-point range and totaled a team-high 15 points.
Smart came away really impressed with Baylor’s Taurean Prince, who had 18 points and was unafraid to shoot multiple fadeaway 3-pointers.
“It was a tough matchup for us,” Smart said. “We defend certain positions really well, and there’s a couple positions that we don’t necessarily have a great defender on a guy. Those guys were fighting for their lives. I think Taurean Prince is a first-round draft pick.”
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