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AUSTIN (AP) — Johnathan Motley scored 24 points on 12-of-13 shooting, leading No. 25 Baylor to an impressive 78-64 victory over No. 24 Texas, handing the Longhorns a rare home loss this season.
The win puts the Bears in a solid position in third place in the Big 12 with an outside chance to play for the regular-season title with four games left.
Motley, who has become a starter as senior forward Rico Gathers has struggled with the flu, had his second huge game in a week. He scored 27 points in an overtime win over Iowa State. Motley had a perfect game going until missing a 14-footer with 1:15 left to play.
The Bears (20-7, 9-5) shot 63 percent from the field. Taurean Prince added 17 points for Baylor, which led by as many as 27 points midway through the second half.
Shaq Cleare scored 14 points for Texas (17-10, 8-6), which lost for the second time at home this season.
Baylor was nearly perfect in the first half. The Bears forced early turnovers, shot 64 percent and outrebounded Texas 15-5 in the half. Motley had 12 points as the Bears raced to a 40-22 lead.
Texas, so good at home this season, struggled for long stretches. The Bears’ zone defense refused to give Longhorns point guard Isaiah Taylor any room to drive to the basket. Even when the Bears sagged off Texas shooters, the Longhorns misfired. Texas missed nine of their first 11 3-point attempts.
Motley continued to torment Texas in the second half. Three easy baskets, one on a dunk after Baylor easily broke Texas’ press, put the Bears up 48-26. It wasn’t until Motley picked up his third foul and went to the bench that Texas could get a break defending him.
Cleare scored seven straight points for the Longhorns, but it barely made a difference. When Motley returned, he went straight to the basket for another point-blank score that made it 58-33 with just under 12 minutes left.
Baylor dominated Texas in the paint 50-32 and had little reason to even look for shots from the outside. Baylor attempted just five 3-pointers the entire game.
Baylor finishes the regular season with league heavyweights Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in three of the next four games.
Baylor: Gathers logged six points in 15 minutes after missing two of the previous three games because of the flu. His comeback could prove big for the Bears down the final stretch of the season whether he returns as a starter or not. The senior is one of the top rebounders in Big 12 history and leads all active Big 12 players with 31 career double-doubles.
Texas: Taylor, Texas’ scoring leader, had one of his worst games against the Bears’ zone. Taylor finished with 10 points, four turnovers and just three assists.
Baylor hosts No. 2 Kansas on Tuesday.
Texas plays at Kansas State on Monday.
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