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Motley leads No. 11 Baylor past Texas 75-64

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AUSTIN, Texas — Johnathan Motley had 17 points and 17 rebounds, helping No. 11 Baylor defeat Texas 75-64 on Saturday.

The 6-foot-10 Motley also had a big game in a victory against Texas earlier in the season with 32 points, 20 rebounds and three blocks.

Jake Lindsey added 16 points as Baylor (25-6, 12-6) matched school records for total victories and Big 12 wins. King McClure scored 12 points.

Jarrett Allen, a 6-11 freshman, had 20 points and nine rebounds for Texas (10-21, 4-14), which has lost seven straight games. Shaq Cleare added 14 points and nine rebounds and Andrew Jones had 12 points and seven assists.

Texas trailed by 16 points with 2 minutes left in the first half, but the Longhorns had sliced the deficit to five less 3 minutes into the second half on a basket by Allen inside.

The Longhorns maneuvered no closer than that, and Baylor increased its lead to 15 with a 3-pointer by Lindsey with 5:39 left.

Baylor led 40-29 at halftime. Neither team made a 3-point basket during the first 8 minutes of the game. Then Baylor hit six of them in the next 10 minutes, three by Wendell Mitchell, a reserve guard who had made six all season in 24 attempts.

The Bears converted 10 Texas turnovers into 14 points during the period.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: Starting point guard Manu Lecomte — the Bears’ second-leading scorer — missed his second straight game while recovering from a sprained ankle, a precautionary measure, according to a team spokesman. . The Bears once had a long string of futility against Texas, losing 24 straight games between 1999-2009. But Baylor is 13-7 against Texas since snapping the losing streak at the 2009 Big 12 Tournament.

Texas: The Longhorns finished the regular season with their worst Big 12 record since the conference began competition in 1996-97. They were 6-10 in 1997-98. Texas finished 0-11 in true road games this season, failing to win one for the first time since 1983. The Longhorns are 0-3 in neutral site games with another chance next week at the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. The last time they failed to win on the road or at a neutral site was in 1909, when they finished 6-3 and played all nine games at home.

UP NEXT

Baylor is at the Big 12 Tournament beginning Thursday in Kansas City. The Bears, seeded No. 3, have a first-round bye and then meet No. 6 Kansas State.

Texas begins the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday. The Longhorns, seeded No. 10, do not have a first-round bye. They face No. 7 Texas Tech.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

Iowa State secures important Big 12 home win over No. 9 Baylor

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Iowa State continued its recent strong stretch of play as they held on to knock off No. 9 Baylor 72-69 for a Big 12 home win on Saturday afternoon.

The win gives the Cyclones (19-9, 11-5) seven consecutive wins while they also snapped a five-game losing streak against Baylor that included two straight home losses. Baylor had one last shot to tie on a full-court pass with 1.4 seconds left but King McClure’s three-pointer was off at the buzzer.

Senior Deonte Burton banked home a key late three-pointer and made an important late steal as he led Iowa State with 22 points while senior point guard Monte Morris added 17 points and seven assists for the Cyclones.

Since inserting freshman big man Solomon Young (11 points) into the starting lineup, the Cyclones have looked like a new team as Young’s added toughness has given Iowa State a major boost on the interior. With Iowa State’s front court struggles improving gradually over time — they still have issues on the defensive glass like they did against Baylor — the team’s perimeter has continued to hum along since the Cyclones have so many veterans on the perimeter.

And when Burton is on like he was on Saturday, Iowa State is tough to beat. Guys like Matt Thomas and Naz Mitrou-Long can have off-nights if Burton is rolling because he’s the type of player who can go for 30 if he gets hot. When Burton is producing on the offensive end it also boosts his energy on the defensive end as he is typically a player who needs to be motivated a bit to give it his all on that end of the floor.

Being his senior year, hopefully Burton continues to stay motivated and play at a high level during the home stretch. He’s certainly had some great outings this season.

Morris is still one of the nation’s best point guards, Thomas and Mitrou-Long are solid senior shooters and Young is a decent piece who is serviceable inside. But this Iowa State will go as far as Burton is playing well. The Cyclones can hang with anyone when Burton is playing at his best but they can look completely average if he has an off-night.

With Iowa State continuing to pile up wins, they could see their NCAA tournament seeding start to get interesting, especially since they have remaining games against tournament-bound, top-50 RPI teams like Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

Sweeping Oklahoma State would be solid for Iowa State while the road game at West Virginia is a game that could decide second place in the Big 12 before the conference tournament.

Baylor (23-6, 10-6) has now lost three of its last four games as their offense has struggled over the last few outings. Junior forward Johnathan Motley continues to be a force on offense as he finished with a team-high 27 points and added 11 rebounds. But Motley still isn’t getting enough help.

Al Freeman (14 points) and Ish Wainwright (14 points) were more assertive on the offensive end on Saturday and this team’s offense should also look a lot better when Manu Lecomte’s ankle heals a bit more.

There are some concerns about Baylor’s ability to take good shots in the half court, but Lecomte not being at full speed was also a huge part of that on Saturday. Baylor better fix things quickly with its offense because they get a game at home against West Virginia on Monday and the Bears are really sliding.

A team that was once in the conversation for a No. 1 seed is now falling very quickly and might finish fourth in the Big 12 after such a strong start.

Motley leads No. 5 Baylor again in 65-61 win over Texas Tech

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WACO, Texas (AP) Johnathan Motley scored 25 points and No. 5 Baylor held on to beat Texas Tech 65-61 on Wednesday night for the Bears’ 13th straight home victory.

A week after getting a career-high 32 points against Texas, Motley was 15 of 16 on free throws as the Bears (19-1, 7-1 Big 12) pulled even with second-ranked Kansas atop the Big 12 standings with a 26-9 advantage at the free throw line. Baylor attempted 28 free throws to 10 for the Red Raiders.

A night after three of the top four teams in the Top 25 lost, the Bears won their fourth straight since their only loss right after reaching No. 1 for the first time in school history.

Justin Gray scored 12 points for the Red Raiders (14-6, 3-5), who dropped to 2-2 against ranked teams in Big 12 play. It was their second straight loss after a 17-game home winning streak ended with Oklahoma State’s first conference win following six losses.

The Red Raiders had a chance to tie or go ahead trailing 63-61 in the final seconds, but Ishmail Wainright blocked a deep 3-point try by Keenan Evans. The Bears started celebrating a win, but the whistle blew with 0.5 seconds left.

After a discussion, officials ruled a jump ball on an inadvertent whistle, awarding Baylor possession. Niem Stephenson fouled Baylor’s Al Freeman before the ball was thrown in, and Freeman made both free throws to clinch the win.

Motley was 5 of 12 from the field to help Baylor overcome season lows of 17 field goals and 35 percent shooting. The 6-foot-10 forward also had a big block on Evans with Texas Tech trailing 56-54 with 2:52 remaining. Manu Lecomte hit a 3-pointer at the other end.

The Bears shot 16 free throws in the first half before the Red Raiders attempted their first, but Texas Tech trailed by just one by limiting Baylor to just seven field goals and 32 percent shooting before halftime.

The Red Raiders recovered from a 12-2 deficit to take their first lead on their first free throws, two from Aaron Ross for a 29-28 edge with 1:24 remaining in the first half.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders bounced back from their worst game by showing that their two wins in three games against ranked teams in Big 12 play weren’t a fluke. They’re unlikely to be an easy win in conference.

Baylor: After getting blown out at West Virginia immediately after surging to the top of the AP poll, the Bears have shown some staying power by getting another winning streak going.

UP NEXT

Texas Tech: After hosting LSU in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday, the Red Raiders visit Texas next Wednesday.

Baylor: After a Big 12/SEC trip to Mississippi, the Bears play at Kansas for the Big 12 lead next Wednesday.

Corrects previous version with Baylor awarded possession instead of jump ball at midcourt.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

No. 20 Baylor rallies to beat VCU

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No. 20 Baylor found itself down by eight points at halftime in its opening-round game against VCU in the Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday afternoon. But the Bears clamped down on defense and used their length and athleticism in a 71-63 comeback win.

The Bears (4-0) were down 36-28 at the half but still advanced thanks to a balanced effort on both ends of the floor along with a big second half from junior forward Jonathan Motley. Getting comfortable in the second half, Motley finished with a double-double as he had 19 points and 10 rebounds on the afternoon — including five offensive rebounds. Guards Manu Lecomte (16 points) and Al Freeman (15 points) both also finished in double-figures.

Finishing with 13 offensive rebounds, Baylor’s perimeter shooting struggled but they made up for it by cleaning up on the glass. Baylor only shot 2-for-9 from three-point range but they adjusted their offense to attack the rim against VCU as Lecomte and Freeman both did damage off the bounce. The attacking style also paid off for Baylor at the free-throw line as they finished 27-for-33 from the charity stripe.

VCU (3-1) was led by JeQuan Lewis as he finished with 21 points, including an impressive 5-for-10 from three-point range. Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed finished with 13 points while Jonathan Williams chipped in 12 points.

This is another solid early win for the Bears, as they’ve certainly looked like a top-25 caliber team early in the season. After the win against Oregon, this tournament is a nice chance for Baylor to make another early-season statement as they try to become a factor in a Big 12 race that looks on paper like a one-team (Kansas) race.

Baylor moves on to face the winner of Michigan and St. John’s in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

No. 12 Yale picks up first-ever NCAA tournament victory

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West region No. 5 Baylor entered the NCAA tournament looking to erase the memory of last season’s early NCAA tournament exit, with a veteran group having designs on playing deep into this season’s event. Unfortunately for Scott Drew’s Bears they drew ran into Ivy League champion No. 12 Yale, and throughout most of the contest James Jones’ Bulldogs outplayed Baylor.

And despite some nerve-wracking moments late the Bulldogs pulled out the 79-75 victory, picking up the first NCAA tournament win in program history.

Makai Mason was the star for the Bulldogs, scoring 31 points (a school NCAA tournament record) as he managed to go just about wherever he wanted against the Baylor defense. Baylor’s standard matchup zone was no match for what Yale threw at them offensively, as the Bulldogs were able get through for quality looks inside the arc. The game reached a point to where Baylor had to come out of the zone and play man, and that didn’t work all that well either.

Normally in upsets the underdog gets hot from three, but that wasn’t the case in Providence. Yale shot 5-for-16 from three but made 63.6 percent of their two-point attempts. And to be fair to the Bulldogs, they looked nothing like an underdog for most of this game.

There were moments of frustration for Baylor, most notably an argument between Rico Gathers Sr. and Taurean Prince (28 points) during a second half timeout, and Yale had a lot to do with that. The Bears made a late run thanks in large part to Prince, and defensively they forced turnovers with full-court pressure to close the gap to one in the game’s final minute.

But they were unable to get any closer than that, and down two with 6.8 seconds remaining a Lester Medford turnover resulted in Baylor not getting off a shot to either tie the game or take the lead.

Baylor’s ability to control the glass has been key for them throughout the season, and they did managed to grab 14 offensive rebounds Thursday. But Yale is a good rebounding team in its own right, as they entered the game ranked in the top ten nationally in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. Thanks to the presence of players such as Justin Sears, Nick Victor, Sam Downey and Brandon Sherrod (in total seven Bulldogs average at least 2.5 rebounds per game), won the battle on the boards Thursday afternoon. Add in Yale’s superior offensive execution, and Jones’ Bulldogs were able to advance.

Next up for Yale is No. 4 Duke, which beat No. 13 UNCW in the first game of the day in Providence.

No. 1 Kansas beats No. 22 Baylor 70-66 in Big 12 semifinals

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Kansas coach Bill Self said the final couple minutes of Friday night’s Big 12 semifinal against Baylor didn’t take anything away from his team’s impressive second-half performance.

Even if it almost took away a win.

After overcoming a halftime deficit to build a comfortable lead, Self put in his backups to coax the game to its conclusion. But the No. 22 Bears rallied, forcing the Kansas starters back onto the floor, where they finally managed to finish off a 70-66 victory.

“I had one guy ask me yesterday, `Hey, when you get a lead in the last two minutes, why don’t you play your bench?”‘ Self said. “And I did. And it didn’t work out so great.”

Al Freeman’s 3-pointer got Baylor within 68-64 with 20 seconds left, and that was when Self sent his top players back on the floor. Jonathan Motley’s putback then got the Bears within three with five seconds to go, but Devonte Graham calmly made the second of two free throws at the other end to put the game away.

Graham had 14 points and eight assists as the Jayhawks (29-4) beat the Bears (22-11) for the third time this season – and avenged their tournament loss from a year ago. Perry Ellis scored 20 points.

Kansas will play sixth-ranked Oklahoma or No. 9 West Virginia for the title Saturday night.

“Proud that our guys didn’t quit at the end,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Kansas really executed well in the second half. I told coach Self, they guard so well.”

Freeman scored 14 points and Rico Gathers had 13 points and nine boards, but nobody in green got into much of a rhythm against the Jayhawks’ man-to-man defense. Taurean Prince was held to nine points, going 0 for 6 from beyond the arc, and Ish Wainwright managed four points on 2-for-9 shooting before fouling out.

The victory was the 13th straight for Kansas, which can match the number of tournament titles won by every other Big 12 school with its 10th. The Jayhawks also improved to 3-0 at the Sprint Center this season with their eighth consecutive win over the Bears.

Not that they didn’t have a chance: Baylor forged a 23-21 lead after a sloppy first half.

The teams combined for 17 turnovers, Kansas at one point throwing it away on four straight possessions. Baylor’s Lester Medford tossed a pass to nobody at one end of the floor, and then Ellis launched an air ball from beyond the arc as the teams went into a deep offensive funk.

For a while, it seemed as if nobody wanted to score.

There were only two real highlights: Graham had five assists for Kansas, including back-to-back alley-oop lobs to Ellis, and Jake Lindsey hit a buzzer-beating 3 to give the Bears the halftime edge.

Kansas began to take control as soon as it left the locker room.

Ellis went on a personal 8-0 run, and Wayne Selden Jr. woke up a sleepy crowd with a soaring dunk. A few minutes later, Graham tossed up a lob from just inside midcourt that Selden threw down for a 43-33 lead.

“We knew we were playing flat, kind of dead, not a lot of energy,” Graham said. “We knew we weren’t playing to our capability. … In the second half we tried to change it.”

Baylor began trying to get the ball to Gathers and Prince in the paint, but the Jayhawks did a good job of collapsing on defense. The Bears missed nine consecutive shots during a critical stretch midway through the second half, and that allowed the Jayhawks to establish a comfortable lead.

They wound up needing just about every point of it.

“We know the game is never over with us,” Freeman said. “We all have confidence in each other. Nobody has quit in them. We’re going to play every possession hard until it’s the last one in the game.”

QUOTABLE

Asked whether having to put the starters back in late in the game is a coach’s worst nightmare, Self replied: “No, the worst nightmare would be losing. This was just a bad dream.”

TIP-INS

Baylor: Motley finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. … The Bears were playing in their third straight semifinal. They still have never won the Big 12 Tournament.

Kansas: Carlton Bragg had 10 points and seven rebounds. He had a career-high 12 points in a quarterfinal win over Kansas State. … Frank Mason III had nine points and six rebounds.

UP NEXT

Baylor heads back to Waco, Texas.

Kansas plays for its first title since 2013.