As clunkers go, this was epic.
No. 24 Texas played its worst game of the season on Saturday in a 78-64 loss to rival Baylor. The 25th-ranked Bears forced four turnovers early, raced to an 18-point lead at halftime and handed the Longhorns their most lopsided loss of the year.
Before Saturday, Texas’ biggest loss was an 11-point decision against Texas A&M. This was far worse in almost every aspect.
“Do something!,” one Texas fan yelled from the stands, which were full for the first time this season. A sold-out crowd of 16,540 filled the Erwin Center only to watch Baylor’s Johnathan Motley rack up a sizzling 24 points as the Bears shot better than 60 percent for the game. Taurean Prince added 17 more for the Bears (20-7, 9-5 Big 12).
The Horns (17-10) had a puncher’s chance to win the Big 12 title. However, that’s likely now out the window with an 8-6 record in Big 12 play with four games left in the regular season.
This was decided long before the final buzzer. But anyone who starts the game 10 for 10 from the floor gets player of the day honors. Baylor’s Johnathan Motley had 20 points before the first media timeout in the second half. ESPN picked up on Motley’s day and started promoting it on social media across the college basketball landscape. Motley blew his perfect game with a 14-footer with less than two minutes left. Still, he finished 12 for 13 shooting on the day.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Baylor’s best shooting performance in coach Scott Drew’s 13-year stint in Waco was a game against Lehigh in 2010. The Bears made 40 of 62 shots (.645) that day. The Bears had a fantastic day shooting on this sunny Saturday afternoon. Led by Motley, Baylor finished with a .627 shooting percentage. Baylor shot 60 percent in the second half alone.
Texas center Shaq Cleare had one of his most active days in weeks, finishing with 14 points and five rebounds. The Horns simply couldn’t get the ball through the Bears’ 1-3-1 zone defense enough. Baylor did a fantastic job of trapping UT’s big men whenever they got the ball. That forced Prince Ibeh and Connor Lammert to cough it up at times.
Texas’ bad start set the tone for the entire day. Nothing wrong with going for an alley-oop on the first possession. But Isaiah Taylor’s lob pass was picked off. Then, Javan Felix threw a bass pass inside to Prince Ibeh. Felix followed with another turnover. Two possessions later, Ibeh lost the ball himself. That was four turnovers in the first 2 minutes, 59 seconds. Kerwin Roach threw another ball away, and Baylor scored again, taking an early 12-4 early.
On paper, Monday’s game at Kansas State looks like a bounce-back opportunity. But these are the same Wildcats that knocked off the Oklahoma Sooners in Manhattan. Texas must proceed with caution into the “Octagon of Doom.” While Monday’s game is a 6 p.m. tipoff, it’s not exactly featured on ESPN’s “Big Monday” broadcast. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
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