Waco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Big 12 Conference teams hoping to stay in contention get together on Saturday, as No. 19 Texas tangles with No. 20 Baylor at the Ferrell Center.
Since beating TCU on Jan. 19, Texas has lost two in a row, falling to a pair of nationally-ranked rivals in Kansas (75-62) and Iowa State (89-86). As a result, the Longhorns are 14-6 on the season, but just 3-4 in conference. They are hoping to get back in the win column today, and climb a game over .500 in true road games as they enter this fray at 3-3 in such affairs.
Baylor is coming off a loss of its own, as it dropped a 64-53 decision at Oklahoma State this past Tuesday. The Bears currently sit at 15-5 overall and 3-4 in the Big 12 as well. They hope a little home cooking will do the trick, as they are 11-1 in Waco this season, having won their last four at the Ferrell Center.
Texas owns a commanding 160-83 lead in the all-time series with Baylor, but the Bears put an end to a three-game losing streak to the 'Horns with an 86-69 triumph in last year's Big 12 Tournament.
Javan Felix poured in 20 points and dished out eight assists, while Isaiah Taylor and Jonathan Holmes scored 17 points apiece, Taylor also handing out eight helpers while Holmes notched a double-double by grabbing 10 rebounds, and Myles Turner tacked on 16 points, but even those outstanding efforts weren't enough to propel the Longhorns to victory as they dropped a tight decision at Iowa State earlier in the week. A 25-10 deficit in points at the foul line hurt UT's cause, as did the fact that the Cyclones drained 54.7 percent of their field goal attempts.
Taylor heads a list of four players currently averaging double figures for Texas in the scoring column, as he nets 13.1 ppg to go with 3.7 apg, Holmes and Turner account for 11.9 ppg apiece, while also serving as the team's top rebounders with a combined 13.5 rpg. As a collective unit, the 'Horns put up 70.4 ppg while allowing just 58.9 ppg, and they are one of the top rebounding clubs in the nation, laying claim to a +11.4 differential heading into the weekend.
Poor shooting proved to be the culprit in Baylor's recent loss to Oklahoma State, as the team made good on only 34.5 percent of its field goal attempts, finishing with a meager total of 19 made baskets. Lester Medford knocked down three 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 13 points, while Taurean Prince chipped in with 12 and Rico Gathers produced a double-double with 11 points and as many rebounds. The Cowboys nailed nine treys in the game, and shot 44.4 percent from the field overall.
Prince is one of three double-digit scorers for Baylor at the moment, as he nets 12.2 ppg thanks to his near-40 percent shooting effort from beyond the arc. Kenny Chery adds 11.0 ppg to the mix, while Gathers is one of a handful of players nationally averaging a double-double with his 10.7 points and 11.9 caroms per contest. As a team, the Bears are generating 68.4 ppg while yielding only 58.2 ppg, and like Texas, they too dominate the glass as evidenced by their massive +10.3 rebounding margin.