Longhorns Escape Waco With a Win

The Texas Longhorns have never lost to the Baylor Bears under Rick Barnes, but they came awfully close Saturday night in Waco, coming away with a 68-67 win.

Texas (19-7, 9-3 Big 12) led Baylor (12-13, 2-10 Big 12) by eight with 45 seconds left in the game, 68-60, but a furious attack from the Bears took the Longhorn lead from eight down to just one. Texas held both the one-point advantage and the ball as time was running out, meaning Baylor had to foul. Texas point guard D.J. Augustin took that foul with 11 seconds to go and went to the line. The Texas freshman was shooting free throws at 84% on the season, but shockingly missed both.

Fortunately for the Horns, forward Mark Shepherd's final shot, a desperation hook as he regained control of the ball, bounced of the edge of the rim, giving Texas the win, 68-67, and improving Rick Barnes' record against Baylor to 19-0.

Kevin Durant finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds, but earlier in the year Texas head coach Rick Barnes said that the rest of the team, not Durant, was going to define how good the Longhorns were going to be. To win most games this season, Texas would need a big spark from at least one more player in each game and on Saturday night Texas got it from a rather surprising place: Connor Atchley.

The sophomore forward had a huge game, scoring a career-high 15 points on 5-5 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds. It was Atchley's most constant performance of the season, which Texas needed underneath, especially because Baylor was back at full strength under the basket with the return of center Mamadou Diene.

Texas struggled in the first half, just as they did in their first game against Baylor, falling behind 21-15 to the Bears. But Texas started their comeback a lot earlier this time, going on an 11-1 run to take a 26-22 lead.

The Longhorns took a 36-31 advantage into halftime, but Texas was about as close as possible to being up by more, as replay showed Atchley's mid-court shot was still touching his finger tips as the backboard's red light came on.

However, Baylor was not done playing. The Bears came back and took the lead midway through the second half, but with nine minutes remaining in the game, Texas retook the lead in dramatic fashion. With the Horns down one, Augustin drove down the floor and lobbed the ball up for Durant who put in a one-handed ally-oop dunk as he was being fouled, much to the delight of the very large contingent of Texas fans that were on hand at the Ferrell Center.

With 6:30 to go, Augustin put in a lay-up to give Texas a five-point lead. It wasn't a comfortable advantage, but it was Texas' largest of the contest to that point. Texas began to get separation, slowly increasing their lead, eventually leading by eight with only 45 seconds to go, before the aforementioned comeback by the Bears that fell just short.

Texas' next game is at home on Tuesday, Ferbruary 20th against Texas Tech. Tip at the Erwin is set for 8:00 p.m.

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