The struggles for the No. 8 Texas Longhorns against the No. 9 Baylor Bears, especially at the Ferrell Center, continued on Saturday as the Bears used a big run in the first half to overcome an early 18-4 deficit and another run early in the second half to take control of the game in a 81-72 victory.
The Longhorns haven’t won at the Ferrell Center since 2016.
Texas forward Dylan Disu scored a season-high 24 points, his best output in burnt orange and white and the third 20-point performance of his career, hitting 10-of-15 shots. There wasn’t much support from his teammates, however, as guards Marcus Carr and Sir’Jabari Rice combined for 23 points on 4-of-14 shooting from three-point range.
Perhaps the bigger problem was the lack of scoring from other players off the bench — guard Brock Cunningham, guard Arterio Morris, and forward Christian Bishop all went scoreless, affording Baylor a 28-12 advantage in bench scoring.
Baylor was careless with the basketball, committing a season-high 21 turnovers, but Texas couldn’t take full advantage with only 16 points off those turnovers and issues getting stops defensively when the Bears did get shots up, hitting 50 percent for the game, including 47.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Disu took six of the first 10 shots for Texas, making three, including two from beyond the arc, to key an 8-0 run for the Longhorns to take a 10-4 lead into the belated under-16 timeout.
Hunter extended the run with a three out of the timeout that marked the fifth assist on five made baskets as Baylor missed six straight shots during a scoreless drought of nearly six minutes and turned the ball over five times in the first eight minutes.
Three free throws by Carr pushed the lead to 16-4 before a potentially key moment in the game when Baylor guard Keyonte George, the team’s leading scorer, rolled his ankle and immediately left the court as Texas stole the ball and eventually made two free throws on the play.
The scoreless drought for the Bears finally ended on the ensuing possession after almost six and a half minutes as the Longhorns went through a four-minute stretch without a made basket that ended when Rice hit a rhythm three and Disu maneuvered his way to a layup. Those baskets seemed important at the time when Baylor hit four straight shots to cut the Texas lead to seven points at the under-eight timeout.
The Bears turned the momentum into a 16-0 run as the Horns went over eight minutes without scoring while missing 10 straight shots and turning the ball over four times. And then things started getting chippy during that stretch — after an offensive foul called on Baylor guard Dale Bonner, he picked up a double technical foul along with Texas forward Christian Bishop.
Disu finally ended the drought with two straight baskets to keep the Bears from creating separation with the first half winding down, eventually heading into halftime trailing 29-27 after shooting only 32.1 percent.
A flagrant foul called on Disu on an attempted block out helped Baylor to a 7-0 run early in the second half as the lead stretched to eight points for the Bears. Disu made up for it with a three on offense, then gave the points back with a soft foul on a layup by Baylor forward Jalen Bridges, Disu’s third foul of the game.
Carr finally made his first field goal with 14:02 remaining, but it came after Baylor had just hit two three-pointers and preceded three straight steals by the Bears that led to two layups and the third foul on Rice, prompting a timeout by the Longhorns with the margin up to 13 points. Whether it was Baylor getting easy baskets in transition or scoring in the halfcourt, Texas just couldn’t get stops, allowing the Bears to hit 11-of-13 shots in another stretch decisively won by the home team.
The potential for an unlikely Texas comeback was further reduced when Disu and Rice went to the bench with four fouls apiece and, indeed, the Longhorns never seriously challenged the Bears down the stretch, although they did go on an 11-2 run late to cut the lead to single digits. Baylor responded quickly, however, scoring four quick points to end the late threat.
The loss puts Texas a half game behind No. 3 Kansas with the Jayhawks hosting the Mountaineers in Lawrence on Saturday afternoon. The Horns return to the hardwood on Wednesday with a game in Fort Worth against the No. 24 Horned Frogs.