By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
After fouling out of the last game and scoring single digits in the last two, Johnathan Motley "wasn't too happy with myself."
It's safe to say he was smiling Tuesday night.
Baylor's 6-foot-10 junior forward had career highs with 32 points and 20 rebounds as the sixth-ranked Bears (17-1, 5-1) defeated the Texas Longhorns, 74-64, before a Ferrell Center crowd of 7,604.
"I tried to do everything I could to be better than I was the last game, and help my team win," said Motley, who was 12-of-19 from the floor and 8-of-11 from the line, adding three blocks, two assists and a steal in 32 minutes. "It's kind of hard to explain. You don't really remember what you do, you're just kind of out there going through it. I can't really tell you the moves I made. I just forgot, it just goes away."
Baylor coach Scott Drew liked that response. "That's the right attitude. Focus on the next play. I like that."
Motley is the fourth player in program history to score 30 or more points and grab 20 or more rebounds in a game, joining Jerry Mallett (1957), Darrell Hardy (1966) and Rico Gathers (2015). Purdue's Caleb Swanigan is the only other NCAA Division I player to produce those numbers this season, while Oklahoma's Blake Griffin (2009) was the last player to do it in a Big 12 game.
"Obviously, Mot statistically had a whale of a game," said Drew, whose team matched its best 18-game start in school history. "But, his teammates did a great job of getting him the ball where he could be successful. We were going to sub him out, but his teammates were like, `No, we've got to keep him in.' That shows their love for him."
Texas coach Shaka Smart, whose team fell to 7-11 overall and 1-5, said the thing that Motley has improved from a year ago is "he keeps getting better with his motor."
"That's how he got a lot of those rebounds. He just stayed with them, stayed with them, kept fighting, went after them. Anytime you get 30 and 20, I don't care where it is or who you are, that's really impressive. We don't see that very often."
The Longhorns, who had one-possession games in four of their first five league games, got off to a great start, taking a 12-4 lead in the first six-plus minutes. Texas' inside duo of Jarrett Allen and Shaquille Cleare carried them early, hitting six of their first seven shots and combining for 14 of the `Horns' first 16 points.
"I thought our guys started the game - the mentality they had, the way they were connected, the way they tried to guard - was very, very good," Smart said. "And then there was a point with about six, eight minutes left (in the first half) where you could just kind of feel our defensive energy was not as good.:"
That's also when junior college transfer Nuni Omot made his biggest impact to date, scoring seven points in a closing 16-4 run that saw the Bears take the lead for the first time and go in at the break up 38-31.
"Honestly, when I got in, I just told myself I had to play as hard as possible," said Omot, who had 14 points, six more than his previous high. "My teammates, obviously, did a really good job of finding me. I was in the right spots, and I had to reward them by finishing when I was getting the ball."
Drew said Omot's performance off the bench is what makes this team so good. He is the 10th different player to score in double figures.
"That's the great thing about our team, I think everyone on our team is capable of having big nights," Drew said. "And we've had that. There are games we've won because our bench guys have all stepped up at different times. It's hard to guard when you don't know where and who's going to be hot."
Motley took over in the second half, scoring 17 of Baylor's last 22 points. He was called for a technical when he pushed a Texas player after a demonstrative slam dunk at the 11:26 mark.
But if anything, that might have fired him up even more. He scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds down the stretch, helping the Bears extend the lead to 68-47 with just under six minutes to play.
"It's just a crazy rhythm you get as a basketball player. You can't really explain it," said Motley, whose previous highs were 27 points and 14 boards. "I made a conscious effort to rebound as good as I could. I know I had more than 10 rebounds. Like I said, I was just in a rhythm."
The Bears also got 10 points from Freeman, while Allen had 17, Kerwin Roach Jr. 15 and Cleare 14 for the Longhorns. Texas scored 11 of the game's last 13 points to make the final margin much closer.
Baylor will play three of its next four on the road, facing TCU (14-3, 3-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Fort Worth.