WACO — The Texas Longhorns won only 16 games last season but on Saturday Isaiah Taylor made sure UT would at least match that total.
Taylor scored a career-high 28 points and came up with three steals to help Texas upset No. 24 Baylor 74-60 at the Ferrell Center.
“I like to penetrate and get into my floater,” Taylor said. “Today it was just falling for me.”
Texas (16-4, 5-2 Big 12) has now won three straight against ranked teams for the first time in school history. Conversely, the Bears (13-6, 1-5) have lost four straight and five of their last six.
Jonathan Holmes had a strong game with 14 points while Cameron Ridley added 14 rebounds and a pair of blocks.
“I thought today might have been his best floor game in a long time,” UT head coach Rick Barnes said about Taylor. “I thought he listened.”
Gary Franklin led the way for Baylor with 14 points while Taurean Prince added 12.
The Longhorns held Baylor leading scorer Cory Jefferson, a Killeen High product, to eight points on 3-for-8 shooting. Jefferson did have a good game defensively with nine defensive rebounds to go with three blocks.
“I thought we took bad shots and that’s why we were 0 for 9 in the first half,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “I thought we were rushing them.”
Former Harker Heights star Royce O’Neale was 3 for 4 from the free throw line, hauled in three rebounds and had an assist, but also turned the ball over twice in 15 minutes.
The four-game losing streak is Baylor’s longest since 2009.
Texas started three guards and used a 2-3 zone to counter Baylor’s three-post starting lineup in the first half. The Longhorns built an early lead and Baylor couldn’t make the Longhorns pay from beyond the arc.
The Bears missed all nine of their 3-point attempts in the first half as Texas led 31-27 at halftime.
The Bears missed their first 11 3-pointers before Franklin hit a 3-pointer with 8:30 remaining that cut the Texas lead to 53-45. Baylor shot 3 for 17 from 3-point land.
The Longhorns took control of the game in the second half after a Holmes layup sparked a 6-2 run in the first 90 seconds of the second half. Texas led by as many as 16 points in the second half.
The Longhorns go for their fourth win in a row against a ranked team when they host No. 8 Kansas on Saturday while the Bears continue their homestand on Tuesday against West Virginia.