Texas keeps NCAA hopes alive, beats No. 14 Baylor 61-59
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Isaiah Taylor didn't play a lot for Texas on Monday night. He was on the court when it mattered most.
The sophomore guard made a tear-drop shot in the lane with 4.8 seconds remaining in overtime to give Texas a 61-59 victory over No. 14 Baylor, snapping the Bears' four-game winning streak and the Longhorns' four-game losing streak.
Texas (18-12) improved to 7-10 in the Big 12 with one game remaining, keeping its hopes for an NCAA tournament bid alive. Last season, Oklahoma State became the first Big 12 team to get an at-large bid with a losing conference record (8-10).
Baylor (22-8, 10-7) had a chance to tie, but Kenny Chery's shot was blocked by Myles Turner with 1 second left.
''Coach (Rick Barnes) said this gives us another breath,'' Texas guard Javan Felix said.
Taylor, the Longhorns' point guard, played only 6 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. He was on the bench for all but 5 minutes in the second half and that was Barnes' choice.
''He wasn't doing what we needed him to do defensively,'' said Barnes, who won his 400th game at Texas.
But Taylor was back for overtime, making another tear-drop shot early in the extra period before the game-winner.
Seven players from both teams were ejected in the overtime for leaving the bench during a brief skirmish between Taylor and Baylor's Royce O'Neale. Taylor said he was hit in the mouth by O'Neale's elbow.
Demarcus Holland led Texas with 12 points. Kendal Yancy scored 11, one more than Felix, who began the overtime with a 3-pointer.
Taurean Prince led Baylor with 17 points. Rico Gathers had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
After an exchange of turnovers in the overtime, Taylor and O'Neale fell to the court, prompting the brief skirmish. Four Longhorns, including starters Yancy and Cam Ridley, were ejected along with key reserves Prince Ibeh and Connor Lammert. Three Baylor players, starter Johnathan Motley and subs Ishmail Wainright and John Heard, were tossed.
Barnes and Baylor coach Scott Drew said they expected that none of the players would be suspended by the Big 12.
Texas' Jon Holmes hit a long 3-pointer with 1:04 left in regulation to tie the game at 54 and erase a deficit that was 10 points with a little more than 6 minutes left. Ibeh blocked a driving shot by Chery, giving the Longhorns a chance to win. Texas made 11 blocks in the game, six by Turner.
''I thought I had a clear lane,'' Chery said. ''They're a good defensive team. They are going to contest every shot.''
After calling a timeout, the Longhorns could not find a good shot, and regulation ended with a forced 3-point attempt by Holmes. Then came Felix with his 3, and Taylor with his tear-drops, and the Longhorns are still breathing.
''We got a chance,'' Barnes said.
Texas: The Longhorns, who have five players between 6-foot-8 and 6-11, lead the nation in blocked shots with nearly eight a game. They set a school record with 14 during a loss at Kansas on Saturday. But they have not used their length and athleticism to induce turnovers by opponents. They rank last in the Big 12 with nine a game. Barnes says his guards are not aggressive enough in that area.
Baylor: The Bears have been fast starters this season, getting outscored in the first half only three times. In those games, they beat Memphis in Las Vegas but lost at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Baylor has outscored opponents in the first half in its last 10 games.
TEXAS FARES BETER THAN MOST
The Longhorns hit 8 of 23 3-point attempts against Baylor (34.8 percent). This season the Bears have supplied evidence refuting an old college basketball axiom that teams which use zone defense are vulnerable to 3-point shooting. Baylor, using mostly zone, has limited opponents to less than 29 percent accuracy, lowest in the Big 12 and ninth nationally. The Bears also rebound well, another area of concern for teams that play zone.
Texas hosts Kansas State on Saturday.
Baylor hosts Texas Tech on Friday.