After struggling for most of the conference schedule, the Baylor Bears appear to have turned things around.
Baylor will have a chance to avenge earlier conference losses from this season when it travels down I-35 to take on Texas today then returns home against Texas Tech on Saturday.
The Bears have won four games in a row and are currently seventh in the Big 12, one game behind West Virginia. Texas is fighting for second place in the conference while Tech is in ninth place.
Baylor’s fortunes turned with a road blowout over TCU, but have since gutted out a double-overtime win over Kansas State, an overtime win over Oklahoma State and pulled away in the second half at West Virginia.
Former Harker Heights star Royce O’Neale enjoyed a career day against the Mountaineers scoring 22 points on 8 for 8 shooting from the field, including hitting all four 3-pointers he attempted, and was one of five Bears to score in double figures. The junior forward entered the game averaging six points per game.
Former Killeen High standout Cory Jefferson is still Baylor’s leading scorer with 13.2 points and is the team’s leading rebounder with 8.3 per game.
Baylor and Texas tip off at 8 p.m. from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin and the game will be televised on ESPNU.
Freshman guard Isaiah Taylor scored a career-high 27 points to help the Longhorns upset the then-No. 24 Bears 74-60 on Jan. 25.
Taylor’s penetration was a big key to UT’s win as the guard regularly drove into the paint and put up running floaters that fell in for baskets.
Texas is the conference’s top rebounding team while Baylor is second in the league. The Longhorns held a slim 43-40 rebounding advantage in the previous meeting.
Three-point shooting could also be a catalyst for the Bears against the Longhorns. Baylor is shooting 40 percent on the year, but missed its first 11 of the game and made only 3 of 17 (17 percent).
Shooting from beyond the arc was also an issue in Baylor’s 82-72 road loss to Tech on Jan. 15 as the Bears hit just 4 of 20 shots (20 percent).
The Red Raiders also had a rare offensive outburst against the Bears as 82 points was Tech’s most in conference play.
Jaye Crockett is Tech’s leading scorer with 14 points per game, but led a Red Raider scoring contingent during the last matchup. Crockett finished with 19 points and all five starters finished in double figures.
The Red Raiders normally like to keep the score low. Tech is eighth in the conference in scoring offense with just over 70 points per game, but is third in the conference giving up just 68 points per contest.
Baylor and Tech tip off at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday from the Ferrell Center. The game will be televised locally on KCEN Ch. 6.