Rapid Reaction: Baylor 77, Texas 72
February, 20, 2012
By Carter Strickland | ESPN.com
Texas, a team desperate to extend its NCAA tournament streak to 14 years, needed a signature win.
Instead its fate may have been signed, sealed and delivered by No. 13 Baylor. The Bears, down by as many as 12, came back in the second half behind the inside play of Quincy Acy, and beat Texas 77-72 at the Frank Erwin Center Monday night.
The loss, which was Texas's second in as many games, may just push the Longhorns (17-11, 7-8) off the bubble and into the NIT. The Longhorns have still only beaten one ranked team, No. 22 Temple, and lost eight of nine games decided by two possessions or less.
For the Bears (23-5, 10-5), the win allowed them to find themselves again after an upset loss against Kansas State at the Ferrell Center. The win also puts the Bears alone in third place heading into the last three games of the Big 12 season.
With the loss, Texas fell to sixth in the Big 12, just ahead of Oklahoma State.
Like most of their games against ranked opponents, the Longhorns were in the game until the final minutes. In fact, in this one Texas had the ball in the hands of its best scorer, J'Covan Brown, down just three with less than 15 seconds left. But Brown, who had a team-high 18 points that all came from behind the arc, threw the ball away. It is the second time Brown has passed the ball rather than shoot the potential game-winning or tying shot. He also did it in a loss to Missouri.
Star of the game: This was a game when the big-time players are supposed to rise to the occasion. Perry Jones III never did. Instead, it was the much less heralded Acy who took over down the stretch. The post player scored eight straight during a crucial stretch, including a free throw after an attempted putback to seal the game with 1:00 to go. Acy finished with 22 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
What the win means for Baylor: The Bears had been reeling after losing three of their last four. The first two were excusable as the games were against top 10 teams, Kansas and Missouri. But a home loss to Kansas State had some questioning Baylor's ability to win physical games.
While Texas is not exactly stout across the front line, the Longhorns do mix it up on the inside. That affected Jones, but it did not affect Acy or point guard Pierre Jackson. Jackson got to the line nine times and made every one. He finished with a career high 22 points.
What the loss means for Texas: The Longhorns are now going to have to pull off an upset in the Big 12 Tournament to get into the NCAA tournament. In all likelihood, Texas will win at Texas Tech and at home against Oklahoma. The Longhorns will be heavy underdogs on the road at Kansas. That means Texas should finish the regular season with a 19-12 overall record and a 9-9 conference record. Given that Texas has just one win over a ranked team it probably won't have the résumé to impress the tournament committee unless it pulls off a win at the Big 12 Tournament.
Up next: Baylor will play host to Oklahoma on Saturday. Texas travels to Texas Tech for a game Saturday.
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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35