Horns Show No Love: Texas 90, Baylor 63

The most telling thing about Texas' 90-63 Valentine's Day massacre of overmatched Baylor is that the nation's No. 6 team had no heart. It went for the jugular. Early. This is a focused Longhorn team that has its sights set on a conference title and, quite possibly, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"We realize it's nearly the end of the Big 12 (season) and these games really count right now," said junior F P.J. Tucker. "These are the games where you have to have the killer mentality and go out and finish it off."

Even against a beleaguered opponent that dropped its 15th consecutive conference road game as well as 17th straight to a Rick Barnes' Texas team. Just before tipoff, Barnes exhorted his front court to be "relentless on every possession". After all, the last time the teams met on January 21, Tucker and F LaMarcus Aldridge were held to two points, respectively. G Daniel Gibson took up the slack with a career-high 37 points in that 66-47 win in Waco but, on Tuesday, Tucker and Aldridge combined for 44 points. Aldridge set the pace with 23 points, 12 boards and two blocked shots while Tucker added 21 points, four assists and two steals.

Baylor tried to keep Gibson in check -- he finished with nine points on a 2-of-6 showing -- by extending its front line to the perimeter. That only opened up the Texas offense in the low post as F Brad Buckman contributed 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes of work.

"Our post guys have definitely helped our offense the last couple of weeks because they've been more active," Barnes noted.

It was Aldridge's third straight double-double, and he leads the Big 12 in that category with 13.

"LaMarcus and I had some really good looks," Tucker said. "We were attacking down low. We were fighting for post position. We ran some post-screens to get the ball in the paint

The Horns raised their mark to 22-3 and, at 10-1 in Big 12 play, remain one game ahead of No. 22 Kansas. Baylor fell to 2-9 on the season.

Texas held Baylor to 39 percent (22-of-57) from the floor, marking the 13th time in the last 15 games it has held an opponent to below 40 percent. The Horns shot 50.8 percent (30-of-59) including a season-best 57 percent (8-of-15) from three-point range. Senior G Kenton Paulino drained a pair of treys, while Gibson and Buckman added a three-ball of their own, to open a quick 16-3 Longhorn lead. Aldridge's baby-hook capped a 15-0 Texas run to make it a 20-3 mismatch. Buckman's slam doubled-up the Bears at 34-17 while his buzzer-beating layup gave the home team a 45-21 cushion at the break. Meanwhile, Baylor missed 19-of-26 FG attempts (shooting just 26.9 percent) during the first 20 minutes of play.

At this point, you're wondering how many wives and girlfriends smiled through clinched teeth Tuesday afternoon and said, "Sure, honey. I'd love to go to the Baylor game for Valentine's."

Aldridge's ally-oop slam off the dish from Paulino was the highlight of the second period, extending the margin to 62-35. Aldridge's traditional three-point play pushed the bulge to 76-46 while freshman A.J. Abrams followed with his second trey in as many attempts. The only question was if Barnes would play the walk-on. (Didn't happen; not with Texas' bench.) Longhorn backups played almost the entire final seven minutes of play after Texas built its largest lead at 33.

For entertainment purposes, the bad news Bears treated a less-than-half-full Erwin Center audience (6,301) to air balls, a missed uncontested layup, a blown slam dunk attempt and an in-bounds pass that went through the hands of the intended receiver. With nine minutes remaining, Baylor had about as many turnovers (13) as they did FG (15). But it must be taken into account that it was just the 11th game of the season for Baylor since the NCAA banned the squad from non-conference games this year. On top of that, the Bears play four freshmen who log approximately 26 minutes per game. The program can take solace in that Scott Drew is a vibrant coach who hails from outstanding stock and who got his young cubs to overachieve by knocking off Missouri and Kansas State earlier this month.

Texas was 22-of-31 from the charity stripe (71 percent) while the Bears went to the line just 14 times, connecting on 10. Ten Longhorns scored in this one. (In fact, the only scholarship player not to get on the scoreboard was J.D. Lewis, who did not make an attempt in nine minutes of play.)

Next up, the Horns travel to Eddie Sutton-less Oklahoma State (13-12, 3-8 Big 12) at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.


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