The Baylor Bears defeated the Texas Longhorns, 80-63, in a Big 12 men’s basketball game at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas, on Saturday.
The No. 10 Bears (21-4, 9-3 in Big 12) suffered a huge loss in the game as forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua left in the first half with an injury. The Bears bounced back in a big way, building a double-digit lead shortly after his departure and never surrendered it. In fact, Texas (18-7, 7-5 in Big 12) really never made it close.
Adam Flagler led Baylor with 20 points, while James Akinjo scored 15 points. Matthew Mayer and Kendall Brown each had 10 points. Flo Thamba scored 12 points and added a team-high 11 rebounds for a double-double.
No. 20 Texas, coming off its huge win over Kansas on Monday, looked awful on offense at times. Andrew Jones was the only Longhorn to hit double figures with 11 points.
Here are our three thoughts from the game.
Baylor’s Surge Without ‘Everyday Jon’
The injury to Baylor forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is not one I would advise you to seek out on Twitter. ESPN showed the replay once, and once was enough for me. I have a hard time describing it, but I’ll try. His left foot came down and his left leg was nearly parallel to the floor. It was not good.
When an injury like that happens, a team can go one of two ways. Baylor, which looked absolutely stunned on the bench after it happened, went the right way. At the time, it was a single-digit Baylor lead. By halftime, Baylor was up 44-31, and its lead had been bigger. The Bears did it with a heavy dose of guard Adam Flagler, who poured in 13 points by the break, and a huge half at the free-throw line, where Baylor went 14-of-15. While Baylor shot 48 percent, Texas shot 37 percent. The energy level from Flo Thamba, Kendall Brown and Jeremy Sochan carried the Bears inside.
The Bears get four days before they play Texas Tech in Lubbock. Hopefully they’ll get some good news about ‘Everyday Jon’ before then. But, given that he was unable to put any weight on his left leg exiting the floor, my suspicion is he’ll be out for a bit.
Texas is NOT a ‘Final Four’ Team
After the Texas Longhorns beat Kansas on Monday, head coach Chris Beard had this to say about playing and beating Kansas:
“[We] protected our home court against a team that’s a Final Four contender — but you guys understand — I believe we’re a Final Four contender.”
Sorry, Chris, you’re not. You’re just not.
Five days after playing one of their best games of the season in Kansas, the Longhorns played one of their worst against Baylor. It’s easy to dismiss it because Baylor played so well, but Texas has had plenty of these games this season where their offense simply doesn’t show up. Texas is a great defensive team, one of the best in the country if we’re being honest.
But Texas’ offense is its biggest weakness, and Big 12 coaches know it.
The Athletic’s Seth Davis interviewed Big 12 coaches on condition of anonymity earlier this week to talk about each NCAA Tournament contender’s biggest weakness. The coach — or coaches — that commented on Texas nailed it, saying “offensively they’re not a juggernaut at all.”
Plus: “Who’s supposed to make shots for them? They’re all guys who score 15 feet and in, so there’s no space on the floor for anybody to do what they do well.”
Yes, Texas made a run, because that’s what happens in the Big 12, but it was short-lived. For 30 minutes the Longhorns were borderline inept offensively, and they have stretches like that on a consistent basis. Timmy Allen — who had a huge game against Kansas — scored just eight points. He’s grown inconsistent after a good start to the season. They have three good 3-point shooters by percentage — Marcus Carr, Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey — but they don’t shoot a high volume (the fact that Texas shot 6-of-16 from there on Sunday should clue the Longhorns in to shoot that more). You could also argue that their best 3-point shooter historically, Jase Febres, barely plays. Saturday was an outlier. He played 22 minutes and hit a pair of 3-pointers.
Just when you think Texas has things figured out, they play a game like this. That’s why teams like Kansas, Baylor and Texas Tech have a better chance of reaching the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament than Texas.
Adam Flagler Is BACK (But, Did He Actually Leave?)
The narrative on Adam Flagler to this point has been that he’s been good, but not great. Some of that may be due to an injury he suffered early in the season. But, perhaps the expectations attached to Flagler — who was the Bears’ top guard off the bench last season playing behind three future NBA players — were just a little too high.
He was averaging 12.7 points per game entering Saturday’s contest. You’ll take that, right? Then, on Saturday, he went off for 20 points. He’s done that, too. It was his third game of 20 points or more in Big 12 play, though the first two were in early January.
The difference in Flagler from last season to this season is his 3-point shooting. Last season he was one of three Bears shooting better than 40 percent. This season, entering the Texas game, he was shooting 36.9 percent. That’s nothing to wave off, but the Bears are without their leading 3-point shooter, LJ Cryer, who fires better than 45 percent. Thing is, Flagler has been picking up the slack without Cryer — the Bears have just lost two of their last four. In losses to Alabama and Kansas, he had a combined seven 3-pointers. In the win over Kansas State, he only made one. On Saturday he made 4-of-5.
On balance, Flagler is having the kind of season the Bears need from him. Moving forward, the Bears may need just a bit more. All season he’s proven he’s capable, even if outsiders think he’s falling below expectations.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.