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Texas-sized upset

Jan. 30, 2010

Bears hang on for 80-77 overtime win

Image
Associated Press
Center Ekpe Udoh, left, grabs the defensive rebound in front of Texas center, Dexter Pittman during the first half

By Justin Baer
Sports editor

Avery Bradley's last-second shot ricocheted off the rim, and the No. 24 Bears (16-4, 3-3) survived for an 80-77 overtime victory against No. 6 Texas (18-3, 4-2)--the highest-ranked team Baylor has beaten on the road in school history.

Bradley got open on an inbounds play with 1.2 seconds remaining on the clock. However, his shot was long, and Baylor snatched its first victory in Austin since 1998.

"It's tough to win here, and we understand what a great team they are," head coach Scott Drew said. "As a coach, you get into coaching to coach teams in games like this. Today we really saw the heart of our players."

In overtime, Ekpe Udoh, who was 0-for-11 from the field in regulation, exploded for six points in the first 2 minutes and 7 seconds of the half to propel Baylor to an early lead. Later, Quincy Acy made a layup to give the Bears a six-point lead with 1:01 on the clock, but the Longhorns refused to surrender.

Damion James made two free throws, and on the ensuing possession, the Nacogdoches senior stole the ball from Tweety Carter. James, who finished with 20 points and 19 rebounds, dribbled unscathed to the basket and slammed the ball through the rim to cut the deficit to two points.

The Longhorns were down only 78-77 with 10 seconds remaining when A.J. Walton stepped to the free-throw line. Walton, who entered Saturday's game shooting 47 percent from the charity stripe, splashed both of his shots to give the Bears a 3-point lead.

"There was only one thing I was thinking--the Lord knows what I want," Walton said. "So, I just stepped to the line, cleared it out and just knocked down the free throws."

Midway through the second half, it appeared Baylor was destined for another shattering loss. Up 14 points with 16:39 remaining in the game, Baylor went into a free fall. The Bears slid into a slump of 4 minutes and 22 seconds without a field goal, and the Longhorns stampeded back into the game.

However, led by Tweety Carter, Baylor held its composure and was able to scrape into overtime. Down by two with two seconds remaining in regulation, Udoh heaved up an air ball. Anthony Jones received the ball beneath the basket, and placed it in the as time expired to tie the game at 64.

"I didn't think Ekpe was going to shoot it," Jones said. "Nobody blocked me out, and the ball just dropped right into my hands."

Usually the victims of turnovers, the Bears used 10 first-half Texas turnovers to snatch a nine-point lead at the half. Baylor, which scored 15 of its 38 points off of turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, also benefitted from porous Longhorn shooting.

After steamrolling to a 45-31 lead in the second half, the Bears staggered into a drought. Then with 4:47 remaining, the Longhorns finally caught a hold of Baylor and took their first lead since there was 13:52 remaining in the first half.

But Carter, who finished with a game-high 27 points, made five free-throws in the final four minutes to keep Baylor afloat.

"As a coach, you get into coaching to coach teams in games like this," Drew said. "Today we really saw the heart of our players. Tweety Carter was amazing. Us coaches put the ball in players' hand and expect them to make us look good and today he sure did."

After playing three-consecutive ranked opponents in conference play, the Bears welcome Iowa State University Wednesday night for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff.