Baylor Bears

Top Three Takeaways From Monday’s Big 12 Basketball Games

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Central Florida

Here are three takeaways from Big 12 Conference men’s basketball on Monday, with just one game on the schedule entering the final week of the regular season.  

So what happened? Baylor and Texas played a wild one in Waco in the only game of the night. Meanwhile, Houston suffered a big injury and a gentle reminder about some stories we published on Monday.

Here are three thoughts on the night.

 

Were You Not Entertained?

That Baylor-Texas game was something else.

Max Abmas had an incredible game for Texas and he fueled the offense, especially in the first half when Texas built a 14-point lead on Baylor.

The script didn’t flip in the second half — at least not right away. Baylor actually started 9-for-9 but was still down seven because Texas started 9-for-13. No matter what Baylor tried it couldn’t stop Abmas.

And then Texas’ well ran dry and Baylor’s well overflowed.

At one point in the second half Baylor went on a 21-2 run to take a 78-70 lead with less than 10 minutes to play. Meanwhile, Texas experienced more than eight minutes without a field goal.

And that was the game. Baylor won, 93-85.

While Abmas was entertaining, Baylor forward Jalen Bridges had his own career game on senior night. He scored 32 points and made six 3-pointers. He made five of them in the first half, and that helped keep Baylor close, as it was down eight at the break.

Baylor shot 53 percent for the game but what it did in the second half was other-worldly. As a team the Bears shot 73 percent from the floor, including 66 percent from the 3-point line.

 

I mean, good luck beating that. And Texas shot great … for 30 minutes.

Abmas was super-human at times. He finished with 33 points, including four 3-pointers. There were times in the first half that he could not miss. He connected on this absurd floater, with a bank off the glass, that briefly kept Texas in the game late in the second half. Along the way he kept climbing the ladder of the NCAA’s all-time leading scorers. He moved into eighth place.

Texas needed everything from Abmas because forward Dylan Disu had a stomach bug and played only 10 minutes. He scored three points. He also left the game with a left leg injury that required help for him to get off the floor. He was unable to put weight on it. That bears watching.

It was Disu’s leg injury in the postseason that Texas had to overcome to reach the Elite Eight last year. But Texas had more frontcourt depth.

Meanwhile, Baylor remains in third place by itself in the Big 12 and, depending upon what happens the next two nights, the Bears could have a double-bye for the Big 12 Tournament locked up before Saturday’s finale at Texas Tech.

Another Cougar Down

It was a good news-bad news day for Houston. The Cougars remained the No. 1 team in the nation in the AP poll and now have the second-best odds to win the NCAA Tournament according to BetOnline Sportsbook.

But the Cougars will go the rest of the way without freshman Joseph Tugler, who is out for the season with a foot injury. On paper, it doesn’t sound like Houston is losing much — 3.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game on 55.1% shooting. But he’s developed into a backbone player for the Cougars and he’s much-needed depth in the frontcourt.

 

Don’t forget — the Cougars are without two other players due to injury, including guard Terrance Arceneaux. Every bit of depth helps for the NCAA Tournament.

More Links To Read

On the men’s side, Kansas center Hunter Dickinson will participate in senior night activities, but he said that doesn’t mean that this is ‘it’ for him when it comes to college.

On the women’s side, our Heartland College Sports All-Big 12 Women’s team is out. Read about our superlative award winners, along with our first-team and second-team selections before the Big 12 releases its coaches’ selections.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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