AUSTIN, Texas — Written off for dead in the Big 12 just a couple of weeks ago, the Baylor Bears are knocking down wins and steadily pulling themselves off the bottom of the league standings.
And with a four-game win streak, the Bears are turning into a team that could turn everything upside down before the postseason tournament.
The latest came on Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.’s follow-up dunk with 8 seconds left in double overtime that sent Baylor to a 74-73 win over Texas on Monday night. Terry Maston scored a career-high 26 points, including 12 in the two overtimes.
“We need every game right now,” Maston said. “I think we’re really turning it around in conference. We’re just clicking right now on offense and defense.”
Texas had taken the lead on Kerwin Roach II’s twisting layup with 20 seconds left. Baylor quickly went back up court as Manu Lecomte drove for the game winner. He missed, but Lual-Acuil came flying in to snag the rebound and slam home the dunk.
Texas’ 7-foot freshman Mo Bamba, one of the nation’s top shot blockers, had stepped in to stuff Lecomte’s shot, but the ball got over his hand and Lual-Acuil was waiting to pounce.
“I knew Mo was going to come over and try to block the shot. I stayed on the other side and was just hoping for a good miss. It came off the rim the right way and I was able to go up and grab it,” Lual-Acuil said.
Lual-Acuil finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Baylor (16-10, 6-7). Lecomte scored 16 for the Bears.
Bamba had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Roach, Dylan Osetkowski and Matt Coleman each scored 15 points for the Longhorns (15-11, 5-8), who have lost three in a row. The Longhorns have lost six in a row to Baylor over the past three seasons.
Texas is just one game out of last place in the Big 12 in coach Shaka Smart’s third season. Texas finished at the bottom of the league last season. Texas players skipped post-game interviews. Smart said they were “hashing some things out,” among themselves.
“We’ve got a lot of guys trying to figure it out,” Smart said. “This league is very unforgiving. No one is going to feel sorry for you.”
Baylor: The Bears got a huge game from Maston, who was 12 of 17 from the field and did just about everything he wanted from 15 feet and in. His only mistake was passing up a late 3-pointer in the second overtime that could have been a dagger. Maston isn’t a starter and only averages 6.5 points over his career, but his role in the offense could expand after this performance.
“Terry is one of the streakier players I’ve ever coached. When he’s on like he was tonight, that basket is pretty big,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
Texas: It was a brutal offensive night for a team that already ranks last in the Big 12 in scoring and in 3-point shooting. The Longhorns were 3 of 19 on 3-pointers and Coleman had just three assists. Coleman came on late with 3-pointer and a layup in the final minute of regulation, and a pair of free throws that helped force overtime. He played the final eight minutes of regulation and both overtimes with four fouls.
“To be 3-of-19 and be right there at the end, shows a lot about what our guys did in other areas. We just needed one more of those to go in,” Smart said.
PILING UP OVERTIME
Texas played its sixth overtime game this season and Monday night was the second to reach two overtimes. The Longhorns are 2-4 in those contests, which can wear out a team short on depth. Texas had five players log at least 43 minutes on Monday night.
Baylor hosts Big 12 leader No. 7 Texas Tech.
Texas plays at No. 23 Oklahoma.