March 9, 2007

Texas to tangle with Baylor, again

The No. 14 Texas Longhorns return to the court Friday night at 8:20 p.m. in the Big 12 Tournament taking on the hot-shooting Baylor Bears. The Longhorns (22-8) won two prior meetings against Bears (15-15) during the regular season, but Baylor is playing its best basketball of the season with wins over Oklahoma State to end the regular season and Missouri 97-83 last night in the first round of the conference tournament.

The No. 11 seed Baylor came out smoking hot from the perimeter Thursday night in Oklahoma City and never looked back in beating the No. 6 seed Missouri Tigers, 97-83, in a game in which defense was optional. Baylor sophomore guards Curtis Jerrells and Henry Dugat were sensational in the first-round win. Jerrells scored 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting, while Dugat scored 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting. The Bears shot 63 percent for the game, including 60 percent from 3-point range.

Friday night will be the third meeting of the season between the Longhorns and Bears. In the first meeting, an 84-79 Texas win in Austin, Baylor led at halftime and for a portion of the second half before Texas grabbed the lead late and Kevin Durant closed out the game from the free throw line. Durant led all scorers in the first meeting with 34 points, while Baylor junior guard Aaron Bruce torched the Longhorns for 25 points (5-of-8 3-pointers).

The second meeting again saw Baylor lead for the majority of the game before the play off the bench of sophomore Connor Atchley proved to be the difference.

While the Longhorns lead 67-60 with three minutes to play, a total collapse was narrowly avoided when Bears forward Mark Shepard missed a 15-footer at the buzzer giving Texas a 68-67 win.

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