Following a series of close losses for the Texas Longhorns, head coach Shaka Smart’s team couldn’t survive a poor shooting night and a monster performance from Baylor Bears star forward Jonathan Motley in a 74-64 loss on Tuesday at the Ferrell Center in Waco.
Motley scored 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the field and 9-of-11 at the free-throw line in addition to a career high of 20 rebounds. With Tevin Mack still suspended indefinitely for the ‘Horns, there simply wasn’t anyone who could defend the versatile 6’10 forward.
There were some strong performances from a reeling Texas team that dropped to 7-11 on the season — the interior presence was strong with Shaq Cleare and Jarrett Allen scoring 14 points and 16 points, respectively.
Andrew Jones also added 15 points off the bench, including two impressive plays in transition. Early in the first half, he went one-on-three, splitting two defenders with a jump stop and then finishing lay up. He also had a monster dunk after a steal.
However, the Texas struggles from the perimeter continued, as the group shot 1-of-18 from three-point range.
The length of the Baylor defense, with often employed head coach Scott Drew’s preferred 2-3 zone, also had an impact, limiting drives to the basket and helping force some of those perimeter shots even though Texas had success when getting the ball into the post.
And then there were the foul issues, as Cleare fouled out, James Bank did as well, and Allen ended the game with four fouls.
There’s no question that the Bears are an impressive team and winning on the road is a difficult task in the Big 12 — the ‘Horns were bound to have a game like this.
With a road trip to Kansas looming on Saturday, Texas faces another big challenge to stick with another team that is among the best in the country.
In what is quickly becoming a lost season for the Longhorns, the key moving forward is simply to remain competitive, even if it doesn’t produce many victories. Since this is a young team that is perhaps psychologically vulnerable after so many tough losses, Smart has a tough task facing him keeping his team engaged and playing hard.