Texas closes regular season with win in Waco

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WACO — Texas discovered on Saturday night it didn’t need to make all of its shots to get out of its losing slump.

The Longhorns (25-6, 13-3 Big 12) got back to their winning ways, defeating Baylor 60-54 in Waco, but they did it shooting 35.6 percent from the floor and putting up their second-lowest point total of the season.

They also did it from behind, trailing Baylor by nine at one point and coming back from a halftime deficit for just the third time since Big 12 play began.

“This is the kind of games you’re going to be in from here on out,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes.

Texas swept the season series against Baylor (18-12, 7-9) as it prepares for next week’s Big 12 tournament and the NCAAs the week after that.

Tristan Thompson scored a team-high 19 points for Texas as well as collecting 13 rebounds for his seventh double-double. Gary Johnson added 15 points and Jordan Hamilton put in six field goals, five of them in the second half.

“He stayed patient,” Barnes said about Hamilton. “I thought he really did as good a job as he’s done all year.”

It was another dominant performance for Texas on the boards, where it outrebounded Baylor 44-29, including a 23-7 advantage in offensive rebounds.

“We hadn’t been beat up that bad on the boards in a long time,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew. “There’s no excuse for it.”

Five of Texas’ offensive boards came from junior Alexis Wangmene. He had a quiet scoring night, sinking four free throws, but played a crucial role rebounding in his 11 minutes off the bench.

Thompson added nine more offensive rebounds as the Longhorns cleaned up the glass.

Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn scored a game-high 22 points in his last contest at the Ferrell Center. Dunn became the Big 12’s all-time leading scorer when he hit a jumper with 1:22 to play in the first half. Johnson guarded him for most of the second and largely limited the jump-shooting guard to outside heaves.

“We didn’t come out and compete tonight,” Dunn said.

Texas started Saturday’s contest much like it had the past four — an early lead that slowly deteriorated as halftime neared. Dunn finished the first half with a trey and then started the second half the same way.

Soon, Baylor was leading by nine, and with the crowd on its feet, the Bears were ready to run away with the show and hand Texas its third straight loss.

But Texas stopped the bleeding with some some-chance points and 11 straight from Thompson and Hamilton combined.

“I thought our poise throughout the game, even when we struggled… I thought our guys stayed with it,” Barnes said.

Texas never got ahead by more than eight but was able to hold on down the stretch. A rebound by Wangmene with 41 seconds remaining and the Longhorns up by four all but assured the win.

Texas added four free throws before the final buzzer and Baylor allowed it to posses the ball without fouling in the final 20 seconds.

Baylor’s loss means the Bears travel to Kansas City for next week’s Big 12 tournament and a first-round matchup with Oklahoma. The winner of that contest faces Texas in the second round.