No. 24/23 Men's Basketball beats Baylor 74-69
February 27, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
TEXAS SPORTS RELEASE
-- Cameron Ridleyhad 20 points and 10 rebounds and made a big defensive play with a block in the final minute as No. 24 Texas held on to beat Baylor 74-69 on Wednesday night.
Javan Felix scored 21 points on seven 3-pointers for Texas, which led by 18 points in the first half but saw Baylor pull within one late.
Isaiah Taylor scored 13 points for the Longhorns (21-7, 10-5 Big 12), including a twisting left-handed layup that put Texas ahead 72-69. Ridley blocked a layup by Kenny Chery before Taylor made two free throws.
Texas got a much-needed win to restore its confidence after losing three of its previous five games, including two blowout losses on the road.
Chery scored 27 points for Baylor (18-10, 6-9), which saw its four-game winning streak snapped.
A seven-game winning streak early in the Big 12 schedule set the Longhorns on No. 5 Kansas' heels in the Big 12 title chase until the late-season swoon.
The Longhorns returned home to turn things around but nearly let it slip away as Baylor rallied in the second half.
Felix scored 15 points and Ridley had 13 as the Longhorns shot 51 percent in building a 42-27 halftime lead.
Felix has been a streaky 3-point shooter this season and found his stroke early against the Bears with a quick release catch-and-shoot that didn't give the defenders a chance to close on his shot. The Longhorns led 16-13 when Felix's fourth 3-pointer started a 17-3 run that lasted nearly 8 minutes.
Baylor rallied with an 18-7 run to open the second half sparked by a 3-pointer by Chery and two more from Brady Heslip that pulled the Bears within 49-45. Baylor kept firing away over Texas' zone and kept making shots to keep shaving the lead. The Bears made six 3-pointers in the second half.
Baylor cut the Texas lead to 59-56 before Jonathan Holmes rescued the Longhorns with eight consecutive points, including an acrobatic reverse layup when he snagged a rebound in midair and had to twist his body backward just to get off the shot.
Holmes' burst put Texas up 67-60 and the Longhorns needed every point of the cushion over the final 4 minutes. Cory Jefferson got the Bears within 70-69 with 1:37 to play before Taylor and Ridley finally sealed it for the Longhorns.
Holmes finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Taylor, who had a breakout game with 27 points against Baylor the first time the teams met this season, spread the ball around this time with seven assists.
The loss could prove to be a tough one for a Baylor team still trying to prove its NCAA tournament credentials. The Bears were ranked as high as No. 7 in early January but had a miserable start to conference play with six losses in the first seven games.
The Bears then won five of their next seven and had a chance to snag its second win over a ranked opponent this month. The loss means the Bears can finish no better than .500 in the Big 12, but that could be good enough for the postseason considering the league is ranked as the toughest in the nation this season.
• Texas improves to 21-7 and 10-5 in Big 12 Conference play.
• UT is off to its best 28-game start (21-7) to a season since 2010-11 (started 24-4). It marks the 10th time in the Rick Barnes era (last 16 years) that the Horns have opened the year with at least 21 wins in their first 28 contests (24-4 in 2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11; 22-6 in 2002-03, 2003-04, 2009-10; 21-7 in 1999-2000, 2001-02, 2006-07).
• Texas improved to 160-82 in the all-time series against Baylor. The Horns have won the last 54 of 68 meetings and are 87-28 all-time against the Bears at home.
• Texas is 29-7 against Baylor during the Rick Barnes era. The Horns are 14-2 against the Bears in Austin during the Barnes era.
• It is the first time for Texas to sweep the regular-season series against Baylor since 2011.
• Texas has now reached the 10-win mark in Big 12 Conference play a total of 11 times in the 16 seasons under Rick Barnes (the first 13 years featured 16-game league schedules).
• Texas committed a season-low seven turnovers. The Longhorns' 17 assists were one shy of their season best.
• Texas outscored Baylor 34-18 in the paint and 18-5 in fast break points (all 18 fast break points were in the first half). In their previous two games combined (at Iowa State and at Kansas), the Longhorns were outscored 78-40 in the paint and 34-2 in fast break points.
• UT posted a 41-40 advantage on the glass. Texas has outrebounded 22 of its first 28 opponents and is 18-4 in those games.
• The Horns held the Bears to just 25.0 percent (8-of-32) FG shooting in the first half. UT limited Baylor to 36.1 percent (22-of-61) from the field for the game. Texas is 17-0 when holding opponents under 40 percent this year.
• UT recorded eight blocks tonight and has recorded at least seven blocks in 16 of the first 28 games.
• Texas had four players in double figures tonight (Felix, Ridley, Holmes, and Taylor). UT has had four players record double-figure scoring efforts in 15 games this year.
• Became the first player since Avery Bradley (Feb. 10, 2010 vs. Nebraska, 1st half) to hit 5-of-5 threes (1.000) in a half … Only three players have accomplished the feat (since 1986-87) prior to tonight (Bradley, Kevin Durant at Kansas – March 3, 2007, William Clay vs. Georgia – Nov. 29, 1998).
• Recorded a career-high seven 3-pointers (7-of-9 threes) while playing in a season-high 39 minutes.
• Recorded his fourth 20-point game (21 points) of the season and sixth in his career (61 games).
• Reached double figures in scoring for the 18th time this season and 27th time in his career.
• Over the last five games, Felix is averaging 17.6 ppg (31-of-73 FG, 21-of-45 threes) in 32.8 minutes per game.
• Reached double figures in scoring (14 points, 10 in the second half) for the 21st time this season and 39th time in his career (89 games).
• Tied a career high with three blocks
• Recorded his seventh double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) of the season and eighth in his career (61 games).
• Recorded his second 20-point performance of the season and his career.
• Reached double figures in scoring for the 16th time this season and 18th time in his career.
• Reached double figures in rebounding for the ninth time this season and 12th time in his career.
• Reached double figures in scoring (13 points) for the 22nd time this year (28 games).
• Over the last seven games, Taylor is averaging 17.0 ppg, 5.1 apg and 4.0 rpg in 32.4 mpg.
Texas Head Coach Rick Barnes
On Cameron Ridley's toughness: Pretty tough. Pretty tough. I thought he played really well. Actually, when he wasn't in the game we struggled. We've got to get better production from the bench there, but Cam really set a tone for us and our guards did a nice job throwing the ball in there.
On getting the ball inside: We talked so much about it because we didn't do anything we wanted to get done in Lawrence. As a staff, we harped on it so much. Harped on it. That ball has got to get in there. It goes both ways – they've got to create the space, which we did, and the ball has to get in there. One thing we told them after the first couple possessions was, 'Now you just have to take it to the rim.'
On running an effective post-offense: Yeah, with the spacing, but again the guards have to throw it in there. Purpose. That was my whole theme with the guys tonight. Every offensive possession has to have a purpose. It was good. It all started with Isaiah (Taylor) getting his space. It starts with him. The point guard has got to attack cracks and get it where it needs to go. If he doesn't, then it all gets out of sync. Tonight he did a really good job fighting for his space.
On gaining momentum heading into March: I think it was a big game because of the way we played. We haven't given ourselves a chance in two games. I think with a young group of guys, you can break it down this time of year. There are a lot of different categories you can put teams in right now. There are some teams right now that are thinking championships, then there are teams that are content with success where they are right now and then there's some teams that are strictly in survivor mode. I don't think we mentally have done the details the last couple of weeks and I think it showed up when things weren't going perfectly well tonight. We did a good job when they pushed back. When we turned it over, that's what gave them a chance to get back in it. When we had to come down in the end and execute, we did.
Sophomore G Javan Felix
On if it's a good win: It was definitely a good win for us. It's definitely what we needed and we just have to put it behind us and look forward to Oklahoma on Saturday.
On how good he felt shooting tonight: I felt really good. We have been shortening practice, so we have had a lot of extra time to get extra reps in on our own. So that's what I've been doing along with my teammates. It just felt good coming out of my hand today.
Junior F Jonathan Holmes
On if he felt like they needed to win this game to keep from snowballing: I mean we feel that way about every game. We feel like every game is a really big game. As much progress we've made this year we can let it get away from us real quick, so we knew this game was no different mindset.
On needing to bring this momentum on the road: Yeah, that's something we need to do. Last week we really didn't do that and we went on the road and didn't execute, we didn't play as well as we wanted to. We learned from that. I mean it's easy to play at home; taking it on the road is a whole different challenge. We are stoked to play on Saturday and bring our best game like we do here.
Sophomore C Cameron Ridley
On if playing a team like Baylor brings out his skills more: I wanted to come in the game more aggressive than I have been in the past games and that was what Coach Barnes was stressing to the guards, to play inside-out. So I really had all the guards looking for me during the game and I just went up as aggressive as I could and tried to have a good night.
On why he hasn't been as aggressive in other games as he has tonight: Picking and choosing my shot selections, that's one thing I have been working on recently. Different shots, because another thing coach is stressing is all the big men taking drop-steps because everyone is taking away the middle from us. He just said to attack the rim every time we get the ball, so that's pretty much what I was doing.
Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew
Opening Statement: They are a good physical team. We recruited a lot of them so we know what they are good players. Coach Barnes does a good job with them. At the end of the day, if we played second half like we played the first half, things might have been better for us. Our transition defense got better as the game went on, but you cannot start out the game not getting transition points. We did a poor job at the beginning of the game.
On the importance of the second-half stretch: I thought it was very important that we came out and won that first media timeout. But as a coach, you know your back is against the wall, we know we need to win games. It is frustrating to fight back to not win the game, but you have to have short-term memory, you have to bounce back.
On Cameron Ridley: He is a big problem, mainly because of this strength. He also has the ability to score with angles. He is every similar to Dexter Pittman.