AUSTIN, Texas – At the end, Texas guard J'Covan Brown blamed himself..
It was easy to do. His turnover with 12 seconds left all but sealed at 77-72 loss to No. 13 Baylor on Monday night.
But there was plenty of blame to go around the Texas locker room for this defeat, the Longhorns' eighth loss of the season by six points or less. And this one comes at a crucial time when the Longhorns are desperately trying to boost their NCAA tournament resume.
"We gotta finish the job," freshman guard Myck Kabongo said., "No one remembers the team that loses. It's all about winning. Yeah, you can say it was close but you have to win."
What Texas (17-11, 7-8 Big 12) couldn't do was stop Baylor (22-5, 10-5) forward Quincy Acy, who carried the Bears on his strong shoulders with 22 points and 16 rebounds.
Baylor rallied from a 12-point deficit behind the 3-point shooting of Brady Heslip early in the second half and Acy's big game. Seven straight points by Acy pushed the Bears to a five-point lead with under 3 minutes to play. Pierre Jackson finished out the win with six consecutive free throws in the final 28 seconds.
Texas trailed 73-70 with 12 seconds left with a chance to shoot for a tie. Baylor set up a trapping double team on Brown who fired a wild pass that was easily picked off by A.J. Walton.
"I turned it over," said Brown, who scored 18 points. "I take the blame."
Texas coach Rick Barnes blamed a lack of defensive effort after halftime. Texas held Baylor to 28 percent shooting and seven field goals in the first half.
"In the first half, our guys played with as much passion and energy and effort and focus as I've seen," Barnes said. "We came out at halftime and didn't build up. One thing you have to do is tip your hat to Quincy Acy. He was a man among boys tonight."
Texas threatened to turn the game into a rout early in the second when Brown, the Big 12's leading scorer, made a quick catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. But the Bears hung around behind a 3-point shooting burst from Heslip, who made three in the first five minutes of the half, with the last cutting the lead to 46-39.
The rally started behind Heslip who made three of his four 3-pointer in the second half. Acy kept it going by grabbing eight offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive and went 8 of 11 from the free throw line.
"You can't give up wide open 3s to a guy that's all he does," Barnes said.
Texas had won four in a row before dropping road defeat at Oklahoma State over the weekend. The Longhorns seemed to be catching Baylor at just the right time with their return home. Baylor had lost three of four.
Baylor has now swept Texas in the regular season two of the last three years.
"We had to come down here, really just dig deep and not give up," Acy said. "Just because we lost a couple of games doesn't mean the season's over."