WACO — Texas and No. 15 Baylor spent Monday night slugging it out, both with baskets and fouls.
Both teams, who had a scuffle in overtime in their last meeting, combined for 30 fouls while shooting 43 percent.
But Texas, like it did on that meeting on March 2, 2015, came out on the winning end, hanging on for a 67-59 in Waco.
“I thought our guys hung in there really well,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “There were some things that went our way tonight that easily could have gone the other way. I think our guys had a lot to do with that.”
Unlike Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt, the Longhorns came out firing to open the game. Senior guard Javan Felix opened the game with a 3-pointer, and minutes later freshman guard Kerwin Roach drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to put Texas up 19-16.
But Baylor hung with Texas. Despite hitting just 2-of-5 from three, the Bears kept the game within arms’ length until Texas pushed their lead to 35-29 at the half.
Things heated up in the second half. Baylor began the second half on a 5-2 run, cutting the Texas lead to three.
Baylor senior forward Rico Gathers got tangled up with senior center Prince Ibeh in the lane, and a scuffle ensued. Gathers ended up with a regular foul and a technical foul while junior point guard Isaiah Taylor was called for a technical as well.
“It’s just two intense guys wanting to win, and sometimes emotions can cloud your head for a couple of seconds,” Ibeh said.
The stoppage gave momentum to the Bears, who tied the game moments later on a 3-pointer by Taurean Prince.
With the game tied at 43, the Longhorns came back with a layup from Taylor and a hook shot from junior forward Shaquille Cleare to give themselves breathing room.
After Baylor cut the lead to one, Texas fought back with an 8-2 run to take a 56-49 lead with 4:32 left to seal the win.
Senior forward Connor Lammert finished the game with a team-high 15 points including three 3-pointers, while Taylor finished with 12 points and nine assists.
“Earlier in the season, we weren’t winning, and we tried to figure out what was the problem,” Lammert said. “But we set our identity on defense and rebounding.”
Gathers led all scorers with 20 points before fouling out of the game with six minutes to play.
The win moves the Longhorns to 4–2 against ranked opponents.
Texas returns home Saturday to face Texas Tech at 1 p.m. The Longhorns fell to the Red Raiders 82-74 on the road on Jan. 2 to open Big 12 play.