Baylor (13-6, 1-5) entered the contest ranked 24th in this week's Associated Press poll. With the win, Texas won its third straight game against a team ranked in the AP Top-25 for the first time in school history.
Taylor was excellent in the first half, scoring 10 points, but he really came alive in the second half with 17 more as the 'Horns ran away from the Bears. Texas led 31-27 at the halftime break but led by as many as 16 in the second.
"That's my game, getting into the lane and getting some floaters and a lot of layups and putting pressure on the defense," Taylor said.
The soft spot against the Baylor zone is in the mid-range, and Taylor took full advantage by dropping in floater after floater. At one point, the Bears had to switch to man-to-man — a defense they've struggled to play all season — with the result being that Taylor got all the way to the rim. The Bears switched back to zone after only a few possessions in man.
"You know you're a good player when people try to take away your strength and can't," said a peeved Scott Drew afterward.
And forward Jonathan Holmes had a versatile day flashing into the gaps in the zone, scoring 14 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out four assists to no turnovers.
At the same time, the Longhorn defense was tremendous, allowing very few buckets, and even fewer clean looks, when set. The Bears scored 37 of their 60 points on free throws and second-chance points.
Baylor shot 32.1 percent from the floor and 17.6 percent from three, and Brady Heslip, who came in shooting 48.1 percent from behind the arc and making 2.89 threes per game (both among the best in the league), was held to an 0-for-4 night from distance and a 1-for-6 shooting performance overall.
Texas (16-4, 5-2) matched last season's win total with the victory. The Longhorns are a likely bet to jump into the Top 25 themselves after rattling off five consecutive wins, and the Longhorns did receive five votes heading into the week.
"The chemistry of our team is the biggest difference," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "There's no doubt. Guys have improved, but from a team standpoint, from our coaching staff, we've got a lot of good guys who care about each other. And I don't think we have one guy on our team who is selfish."
The Bears have also flipped the script from last year, but in a negative way. Six games into Big 12 play a year ago, Baylor was 5-1. Now they're 1-5.
The Longhorns now get a week off before hosting Big 12-leading Kansas next Saturday. That game will tip off at 3 p.m.