Texas Basketball Drops Fourth Straight at Former #1 Baylor
It was another frustrating Big 12 game for Texas, which did not look bad overall. But, their inability to shoot from the perimeter, stay out of foul trouble, and neutralize Baylor’s big men added up to a double-digit loss for Shaka Smart.
Texas’ shooting continues to be atrocious. One of the worst shooting teams in the country went 2-19 on three-pointers. One of those was a garbage-time three from Eric Davis on the last play of the game to make the score more respectable.
Key Sequence for Texas Basketball in the First Half
Texas led for most of the first half, showing there was no hangover from a two-point home loss to West Virginia on Saturday. During the Longhorns’s good stretch against Baylor, the guards controlled temp and big men Shaq Cleare and Jarrett Allen scored at will.
Then, a classic 2016-2017 Texas Basketball sequence unfolded that led to Texas’ demise. Kerwin Roach put the Longhorns up by five points with five minutes left in the first half. Then, Baylor scored a quick bucket to make it a three-point game.
On a fastbreak the other way, Eric Davis lined up a three-point shot. The inconsistent Davis missed the shot, but the ball bounced right back to him. However, Davis was watching the flight of the ball instead of following up his shot, allowing Baylor to grab the rebound. Baylor then nailed a three-pointer on the other end to tie the game and complete a six-point swing.
Baylor followed with a steal and another three-pointer to suddenly go up three points. Texas never led the rest of the game. Shaka Smart’s team ended up trailing by seven at halftime following a typical end-of-half slide when the other team seizes momentum.
Second Half Paint Domination by Baylor
Texas’ big men were eaten alive by Johnathan Motley in the second half. Motley finished with 32 points and 20 rebounds. Seven of those rebounds were offensive boards over Jarrett Allen, Shaq Cleare, or guards trying to rebound.
Allen, frustrated by his defensive effort, showed some tenacity on offense late in the game. Allen finally started calling for the ball, helping him finish with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
But, Allen picked up his fourth foul midway through the second half. He then sat on the bench during a key stretch of the second half when Baylor increased their lead to 20+ points. Fellow freshman big man James Banks, who only played 12 minutes, subsequently fouled out of the game along with Cleare.
Overall, Baylor’s big men simply wore down Texas’ interior after a solid start to the game. Texas’ guards did not help, either, since they could not score from the perimeter to slow down Baylor and set up pressure.
Without firepower to answer Baylor’s scoring runs, the Horns were just trying to keep the score close. They eventually put together a run at the end of the game when Baylor was content with the victory. Credit Shaka Smart’s team for never quitting or letting up, which made for a respectable 10-point loss to the #6 team in the country.
Inconsistent Guard Play Needs Help
The biggest issue for Shaka Smart going forward is figuring out his guard play. Tevin Mack was suspended for the second consecutive game, opening the door for someone – anyone – to step up.
But, Jacob Young went 0-4 from the field in 27 minutes. He scored two points on two late free throws. And, Eric Davis seems like he’s lost confidence in his game. If Smart had more depth, he probably would have benched Davis.
The other main guards, Kerwin Roach and Andrew Jones, played okay. They combined for nine of the team’s 11 total assists, but Roach continues to turn the ball over too often. Meanwhile, Jones went 1-6 on three-pointers.
More from Texas Basketball
- How to watch Texas basketball vs. Marquette: Odds, matchups, injuries and more
- Texas women’s basketball survives late surge by UConn Huskies
- Texas Basketball: 2 studs, 1 dud from UT’s late rally win vs. Texas State
- How to watch Texas basketball vs. Texas State: Odds, matchups, injuries and more
- Texas women’s basketball: Taylor Jones and UT dominate Golden Eagles
Kendal Yancy returned from injury, but he was limited to just 10 minutes. Late in the second half, Yancy nearly airballed a wide-open three-pointer on his only shot of the game.
Shaka Smart has to figure out something before Texas travels to Kansas to face the #2 Jayhawks on Saturday.
The team shows flashes of good play when they go inside-out, but the inconsistent guard play and woeful shooting gives this team little chance to put together 40 minutes of winning basketball.