Bears Can't Get it Done

After the game, Baylor (18-12, 7-9) head coach Scott Drew summed up the day best, saying ,"The day was storybook. We just don't like the ending". Saturday Baylor hosted ESPN's College GameDay for the first time and by tip-off, the Ferrell Center was packed. Needing a win to keep their chances of reaching the tournament alive, the Bears fell to the #8 Texas Longhorns (25-6, 13-3) 60-54.

Lacedarius Dunn started the game off with a turnaround jumper for the Bears, bringing him within 3 points of becoming the Big 12's all-time leading scorer. Tristan Thompson countered for the Longhorns with a dunk the next time down. Then, the game got ugly. Over 3 minutes passed until another point was scored, coming off a Thompson free throw. With 14:14 remaining, Quincy Acy got the Bears back to even with Texas with a hook shot in the paint. Texas then went on an 8-0 run until Acy snapped the drought for the Bears. Dunn then hit another jumper to come within one point of the record.

The game continued with both teams struggling to get in a rhythm. Baylor fouled the Longhorns often, which normally isn't a bad idea against a Texas team that has struggled from the line much of this season. The Bears fell behind 19-12 until Dunn was fouled with 3:34 remaining in the half. After missing the first free throw, Dunn connected with the second, becoming the conference's all-time leading scorer.

After setting the record, a weight seemed to be lifted off not only Dunn, but the entire Baylor team. The Bears pulled ahead after going on a 12-2 run to close the half that was capped off by Dunn's first three-pointer of the night.

Dunn then opened the second half the same way he'd finished the first, connecting from beyond the arc. After an AJ Walton layup, Anthony Jones three, and Dunn jumper, the Bears had suddenly pulled ahead 34-25. However, the Longhorns wouldn't go away without a fight. They began slowly chipping away at the lead at the same time the Bears went on a 4 minute scoring drought. Texas pulled ahead after another Thompson free throw. Dunn and Anthony Jones put the Bears ahead 42-39. Again, Texas came fighting back. With the game tied at 45, Jordan Hamilton connected on a three that proved to be a dagger in the heart of the Bears.

Though the Longhorns have struggled from the free throw line this season, they made them when it counted, going 8/8 in the final 3:05 of the game. With 2:02 remaining it looked like the game was still within reach after another Dunn trey pulled the Bears back within two, but Cory Joseph immediately countered with a layup of his own. The Bears continued to foul, but it was too late.

In a game where the Bears' defense held Texas to 35% shooting, the real story was the Longhorns' dominance on the boards. Texas had 21 offensive rebounds (which led to Texas' 31 second-chance points), compared to Baylor's 6. After the game, Drew commented that rebounding was the last area of the game he expected to get dominated like that, something he said hadn't happened since his first couple of years in Waco.

Dunn was the Bears' leading scorer on Senior Night with 22 points. He was the Bears' only scorer in double digits, with freshman Perry Jones finishing with 9 and Anthony Jones adding 7. Acy chipped in 6 before fouling out.

The third phase of the Bears' season will begin on Wednesday in Kansas City at the Big 12 Tournament, with Baylor expected to square off with the Oklahoma Sooners. Stay tuned to BearsIllustrated.com to follow the Bears' journey through the conference tournament.

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