Texas remains tied with Kansas atop the Big 12 standings at 11-4, but have an easier path to the title — the Jayhawks host the Mountaineers and the Red Raiders before making their first trip to the Moody Center. So the Horns face the difficult task of trying to beat the Bears at the Ferrell Center for the first time since 2016. Baylor is 13-2 at home this season with a six-game winning streak.
In late January, Texas made six free throws down the stretch and got a big shot from guard Marcus Carr to beat Baylor for the first time since 2019 and the second time since 2016. But that 76-71 victory not only came at home, it was also came with the Bears missing guard Langston Love and forward Jonathan Tchamwa-Tchatchoua, who returned earlier this month from the devastating knee injury that he suffered against the Longhorns last year. In Tuesday’s loss to Kansas State, Tchamwa-Tchatchoua recorded his first double-double in 392 days.
“Both impact, strong players,” Texas forward Timmy Allen said on Thursday. “I mean, the big guy down low does a lot for them and we know that, unfortunately, his injury happened against us last year and we’ve got a lot of love and respect for him in that aspect. He’s a great player and will demand some attention, so we’ve got to be locked in on details on that. And Langston Love, strong, aggressive guy, likes to shoot, he likes to get downhill, and he can do a lot of things.”
Allen will likely be locked in on a different player — Baylor’s star freshman guard Keyonte George, who is averaging 16.9 points per game. In Austin, Allen drew the assignment of defending George and while the Lewisville product did manage to score 17 points, it took him 18 shots while turning the ball over three times and recording zero assists.
“I love the matchup. I love the assignment,” Allen said. “I’m really just trying to hone in on the details, the scouting report of what we’re trying to do with his tendencies and where he likes to get specific shots off and just trying to not let him get any clean looks — he’s a guy every shot he shoots you think is going in.”
George is coming off a 23-point performance against the Wildcats in which he made six threes, only two fewer than the Bears made as a team against the Longhorns in 26 attempts (30. 8 percent).
To win on the road in a top-10 matchup, Texas will also have to draw on the experience of players like Allen, Carr, forward Christian Bishop, and guard Sir’Jabari Rice.
“You can never underestimate the value of experience, especially at the time of the year like this when games are possession games and you’ve really got to grind out possession by possession, knowing details, scouting reports for exactly what we’re trying to do,” Allen said. “We just have no no rattle, no shake, all confidence, all trust in each other and our coaching staff. We go into each game with a plan of what we’re trying to do and execute offensively and defensively and we just try to stick to that. If we get a little away from it early, we’ve always got time to reset, rebalance, and attack.”
How to watch
Time: 1 p.m. Central