Jan. 28, 2012
WACO, Texas (AP) - Close games are becoming the norm for Baylor.
Even more importantly for coach Scott Drew and the Bears, winning these tight contests have also become a regular occurrence.
Perry Jones III scored 22 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, Pierre Jackson hit the go-ahead 3-pointer and Baylor (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) withstood a second-half rally to beat Texas 76-71 on Saturday.
The Bears (19-2, 6-2 Big 12) improved to 5-1 in games decided by five points or less. On Tuesday night, Baylor needed a late push to pull away from Oklahoma in a 77-65 victory.
"It's a lot easier to teach after a win than it is a loss," Drew said. "We've been fortunate to win. Hopefully, we keep improving and getting better."
It appeared early in the second half that the Bears might be able relax down the stretch as their lead grew to 12 points
A late string of turnovers and J'Covan Brown's hot shooting helped the Longhorns tie the game with less than 3 minutes left.
Jackson answered with his 3-pointer that gave Baylor the lead for good with 2:36 left, and the Bears hit seven free throws down the stretch to seal the victory despite committing 18 turnovers -- twice as many as the Longhorns.
"If we cut down on the turnovers, then the game wouldn't have been that close," said Jones, who has 43 points and 26 rebounds the past two games.
Brown scored 20 of his 32 points in the second half for Texas (13-8, 3-5), but he missed a 3-point attempt with 10 seconds left that would have tied the game.
Texas struggled to find offense outside of Brown. The rest of the Longhorns hit only 13 of 38 shots and 10 of 18 free throws.
The Longhorns have lost four of five since starting conference play 2-1. Texas is in the midst of a six-game stretch when they play five ranked opponents. Things don't get any easier for Texas as it hosts No. 2 Missouri on Monday night.
"I think the biggest thing is consistency with everybody," coach Rick Barnes said. "We need guys that we know we're going to get something from every single night. We still don't have that consistently."
Quincy Miller had 18 points for the Bears, who are 6-2 in conference play for the first time since 1986-87. Brady Heslip added 11 points, and Quincy Acy had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Brown, leading the Big 12 with 19 points per game, was 11 of 22 from the field and broke out of an offensive slump. The junior guard had made only 18 of 70 shots in his last three games.
Brown scored six points during a 14-2 run that tied the game at 54. He then connected on a 3-pointer that tied it at 66 with 2:56 left.
"J'Covan was special," Drew said. "We didn't have an answer for him."
Jackson had five turnovers, but he made up for those miscues with his 3-pointer that gave Baylor a 69-66 lead.
"That's not really like Pierre," Heslip said of the turnovers. "He does a great job for us, so he's allowed to do that."
Jones and Acy each hit a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 73-66 before Texas made one last surge to pull to 74-71. Brown couldn't complete the rally as his 3-point attempt in the final seconds was well off.
"I didn't help my team get a win," Brown said. "I just didn't come through for them. Those shots I made, they don't even matter because we didn't win."
Miller scored 13 points in the first half, and Jones had 12 points and 10 rebounds to give Baylor a 38-29 halftime lead.
Jonathan Holmes scored to give the Longhorns a 19-18 edge with 9:14 left in the first half.
Texas, which came into the game shooting just 40 percent in conference games, missed six of its first seven shots. The Bears capitalized as they went on a 15-5 run over the next 5:29 to take the lead for good.
The spurt was capped by an alley-oop dunk from Jones on a pass from Jackson that gave Baylor a 33-24 lead with 3:45 remaining in the first half.