The Longhorns didn’t have an answer for Quincy Acy down the stretch as No. 14 Baylor rallied to end UT’s hopes for an upset.
Acy scored eight points in the final 4:45 to help Baylor overcome an 11-point second half deficit and beat Texas, 77-72, on Monday night at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Longhorns (17-11, 7-8 Big 12) lost another close game and missed out on their best chance to get their first signature win of the season. Texas fell to 1-8 in games decided by six points or less.
Texas had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds but J’Covan Brown made an errant pass and turned the ball over with UT down, 73-70, with 14 seconds left. It was just the latest heartbreak for the Longhorns, who have struggled to make plays late in games all season.
“I take the blame,” Brown said. “I turned it over. We lost the game. It hurts. I feel like every night I keep letting these guys down. I’m trying. I guess I’m not figuring it out right now.”
Baylor’s Pierre Jackson was fouled after Texas’ 11th turnover and made two free throws to seal the win. Jackson converted six from the line in the final minute to stave off the Longhorns. The point guard finished with 25 points and six assists.
Texas led 36-26 at the half. The Longhorns shot 50 percent from the field (13-of-26) and held Baylor to 28 percent shooting (7-of-25) and forced nine turnovers. But the Longhorns did not come out with the same defensive intensity after the break and allowed the Bears to shoot 50 percent in the second (15-of-30).
Brown led Texas with 18 points made six 3-pointers. Sheldon McClellan added 13 off the bench to reach double-figures for the sixth straight game.
Texas surrendered its lead with 7:04 to play on a jump shot from Perry Jones III that made it 56-55. From there, the Bears slowly pulled away as Acy took over down low.
The senior forward finished with 22 points and pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end.
“I know that has to be my calling card for this team, setting the tone in the paint and being a tough force down low to grab rebounds,” Acy said. “I found myself in good position and never stopped working.”
Acy hauled in his final rebound after with 1:00 left and was fouled with Baylor ahead, 70-67. He made one free throw to put the game out of reach.
“He just outplayed us,” said Texas senior forward Clint Chapman.
Baylor didn’t close out Saturday’s game against Kansas State and lost at home, 57-56, but the Bears reversed their fortunes on Monday. Baylor improved to 8-2 in games decided by five points or less. The Bears won for second time in their last five games and moved to 10-5 in the Big 12.
“It was a big win,” said Bears guard Brady Heslip, who finished with 12 points. “We knew we had to come in and make a statement. We came in with a chip on our shoulder.”
The Longhorns fell to 0-7 against ranked opponents. In the last five games against ranked teams, Texas has been outscored by just 18 points.
“We just have to finish the job,” said freshman point guard Myck Kabongo. “You can say we’re close, but we have to win. We just have to learn how to finish, that’s all.”