No. 3 Baylor bids for sweep of No. 21 Texas
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No. 21 Texas and No. 3 Baylor will have plenty on the line when the Big 12 rivals square off for the second time this season on Monday in Austin, Texas.
The game has huge implications for the regular-season Big 12 race and seeding both in the conference and NCAA tournaments.
Monday's encounter between the Longhorns (21-8, 10-6 Big 12) and Bears (24-5, 12-4), however, carries additional significance.
It marks the final men's basketball contest in the 45-year history of the Frank Erwin Center, the Longhorns' home since 1977. The arena is being torn down to facilitate the expansion of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas and will be replaced by the Moody Center.
Baylor manhandled the Longhorns 80-63 on Feb. 12 in Waco, and Texas is determined to show that it is better than the performance it put forth that day. The Longhorns have won five of their past seven games, with the only setbacks the aforementioned loss to Baylor and at home to now-No. 12 Texas Tech on Feb. 19.
Texas is in the midst of one of its best stretches of play and heads into Monday's game on the heels of a gritty 82-81 win at West Virginia on Saturday. Timmy Allen led the Longhorns with a season-high 26 points and 10 rebounds. Marcus Carr finished with 15 points and Jase Febres added a season-best 14 for the Longhorns.
"People have been questioning us all year," Allen said. "We're proving to ourselves what we're capable of. We know who we are, and we've seen it all year in practice and we're starting to flourish in the games."
Allen (7 of 9), Carr (6 for 6) and Febres (5 of 6, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range) combined to make 18 of their 21 shots for Texas, which sank 63.4 percent of its attempts from the floor.
"We set this game up like an NCAA Tournament game - survive and advance," Texas coach Chris Beard said. "That's as happy as our locker room has been all year."
Baylor heads to Austin after a rousing 80-70 home victory over then-No. 5 Kansas on Saturday night. The Bears are now 10-1 against top-10 opponents over the past two seasons.
Just seven players saw the court on Saturday for Baylor, which avenged an 83-59 loss at Kansas on Feb. 5.
Flo Thamba led the Bears with a career-high 18 points. Jeremy Sochan added 17 points, Adam Flagler had 13 and Matthew Mayer recorded 12 rebounds.
The Bears trailed 16-4 midway through the first half and by 13 points with 5:49 remaining before mounting a comeback that brought them to within 32-31 at intermission. Baylor did not trail over the final 11 minutes, holding Kansas to 34.3 percent shooting in the game and 29.4 percent in the second half.
"A great Navy seal told me, 'It's not what you don't have, it's what you have,'" Baylor coach Scott Drew said after Saturday's win. "So, you've got to focus on what you have, and that's what we've been doing.
"This one's a little bigger at Texas from the standpoint it's your last game at their arena. I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of emotion involved with that."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 28, 2022