The road has been kind to the Bears in Big 12 play. With wins over Iowa State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State, Baylor had performed better than any other team in Big 12 away from home. A dominant win over Texas, 78-64, continued that trend, improving the Bears to 5-2 on the road. The Bears got off to a fast start in this game, something that had eluded them for most of the season. Baylor led 6-0, courtesy of steals on each of the first three possessions for the Longhorns. That was just the start, as the Bears shot 62.7% from the field for the game, continually attacking the Longhorn defense on the interior and finishing tough shots.
Jonathan Motley, starting for Rico Gathers for the third time in four games, led the Bears with 24 points, hitting his first 11 shots and finishing with 12-13 for the game. He attacked quickly, forcing Prince Ibeh into early foul trouble and then eating up the backup big men for Texas. He did his work down low, working from the top of the key in pick-and-roll action, and getting the slower footed Longhorn posts into bad position. He attacked the offensive glass, netting 6 points off of put-backs using his length and athleticsm to keep the ball high. It was the second tremendous game in a row for the sophomore post, following a 27 point effort against Iowa State earlier in the week.
With Motley carrying the load, the Bears continued to attack the paint and put the Longhorns in tough positions. Taurean Prince scored 17 points, including a 6-0 run on two brilliant finishes through contact. That run stretched the Bears lead to 25, before eventually getting high as 27 halfway through the second half.
While the Bears starting posts carried the offense, it was a tremendous team defensive effort that kept this game easily in hand. Baylor forced 14 turnovers in the game, with 9 steals. Taurean Prince had 4 steals, while Ish Wainright had 3. In the earlier matchup in Waco, the Longhorns continually posted up Prince Ibeh down low against the smaller Rico Gathers. With Motley in his place, and the Bears doubling down hard anytime Ibeh or one of the other posts got the ball down low against the Bears zone defense, they were able to confuse the longhorn big men. After dominated the Bears in the first matchup, Ibeh struggled to a 4 point, 4 rebound game.
"I think we're a different team when we're active and flying around. When you play a team the second time, it does help defensively" said Scott Drew after the win. The Bears played with intensity from the opening tip, doubling hard down low and trapping the Longhorns in tough spots on the court. When asked about the intensity of the Bears in this game on a scale of 1-10, Taurean Prince responded with "15" and a wink.
Texas made just 8 shots in the first half, trailing 40-22 after two late Taurean Prince free throws extended the lead to 18. Baylor made 17-26 from the field, and scored more points in the paint (26) in the first half than Texas had total points at the break. It was a dominant first half, nearly perfect for the Bears. With the big lead, Baylor slowed down the pace and milked the clock while Texas continued to press. Outside of a few sloppy mistakes against the aggressive press of Texas, the Bears played a nearly perfect 40 minutes of basketball.
Backup center Shaq Cleare led Texas with a career high 14 points. The starting five for Texas scored just 29 points, making 10-26 from the field. The Longhorns made just 4-18 from behind the arc.
The win was number 20 on the season, the fifth year in a row the Bears have reached the 20 win mark and the 8th time in the last 9 seasons. Baylor comes home to take on Big 12 leader Kansas Tuesday night in a massive home game.