No. 11 Texas, Taylor Pour It On Baylor, 84-58

Baylor transfer <B>Kenny Taylor</B> seemed to feel right at home Wednesday at the Ferrell Center in Waco, even though the home crowd booed every time he touched the ball. The junior guard silenced his critics with a team-high 18 points on six buckets from beyond the arc as Texas' barrage of treys was bad news for the Bears, 84-58.

Texas' 14 three-pointers was a season high (the school record is 18 set against Kansas State in 1997) and the win upped the Horns record to 17-3 and 8-1 in Big 12 play, tied for first with No. 10 Oklahoma State. The win also lifted head coach Rick Barnes' Big 12 road record to 32-12, tops among all league coaches during his six years of presiding over Longhorn hoops. Barnes is now 13-0 against Baylor.

Kenton Paulino continued to find his comfort zone in making his 10th start at point guard. The sophomore got in on the three-point shooting spree with three straight from beyond-the-arc to open the second half assault and finished with a career-high 15 points, including four three-pointers. Senior G Royal Ivey's trey spotted Texas a 59-27 cushion and completed an 18-4 Longhorn run.

Yet, the stat sheet and the story line clearly belong to Taylor. Earlier this season, sports reporters asked Barnes what it meant for Taylor to face his former teammates. Truth of the matter is half of Taylor's former teammates are no longer in Waco.

"He barely knows some of these (BU) guys," Barnes commented.

First year Baylor coach Scott Drew has been a godsend to the beleaguered program that surprisingly won a pair of Big 12 games during the first half of league play, including knocking off Texas A&M in Waco. Down to six scholarship players following last summer's surreal murder investigation and coaching scandals, the Bears have pieced together a scrappy club in which four of seven new players are walk-ons.

As expected, the Bears were no match against what is arguably the deepest bench in America and fell to 7-18 on the season, 2-7 in Big 12 play. But playing at a frenetic pace in the opening ten minutes, the Bears took a brief 8-7 lead when R.T. Guinn drained a three-pointer at the 12:50 mark. From then on, the long-range shots belonged to Texas. Taylor's trey, followed by senior F Brian Boddicker's three-ball, gave Texas the lead for good. Taylor's third consecutive trey blew this one wide open as Texas closed the first half on a 15-1 run to lead 36-19 at intermission.

Junior C Jason Klotz, who becomes more of a snarling front court presence with each contest, completed Texas' first half with a putback and then a slam dunk off of a terrific assist from freshman F P.J. Tucker. With 10 points and eight boards, Tucker tallied his first double-digit outing in Big 12 action since Texas opened league play against the Bears on Jan. 10.

The 19 points is the fewest Texas has allowed in the first half all season and the fewest since, yup, Oklahoma scored all of 20 points in the first 20 minutes Sunday. The Sooners, of course, outdid themselves by rallying for 17 points after intermission. (Sorry. Just couldn't resist one more dig.)

All in all, Tuesday was one of UT's better shooting nights of the season as the Horns connected on 31-of-61 from the field (51 percent).

Baylor junior F Harvey Thomas led all scorers with 20 points.

Senior G Brandon Mouton, the only Longhorn regular who did not score, hobbled off the court favoring his right ankle at the 14:03 mark of the first half. He returned just before intermission and played sparingly during the final 20 minutes as the game got out of hand.

One of these days, F Brad Buckman's game is going to come to him (there is too much talent and determination in that 6-8 frame for it not to). Yet the sophomore continues to miss point-blank shots and opened the game with a careless turnover plus an out-of-control charging foul. Clearly frustrated, he also got whistled for a technical foul just 1:07 into the second half and Texas comfortably leading, 41-21. Buckman was featured in Tuesday's Austin American-Statesman in an article titled "Second-Year Slump."

Texas travels to Iowa State, where the 'Clones upset league No. 3 Kansas earlier this year, for a 3 p.m. (CST) tip-off Saturday on ESPN+ before hosting Texas A&M on Wednesday, February 18.


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