There will be plenty of storylines when No. 6 Baylor opens Big 12 play at home against Texas on Saturday night in Waco, Texas.
The Bears (10-1), winners of nine straight games including three against ranked teams, will have to find a way to subdue Texas (10-2), which is off to its best 12-game start in the Shaka Smart coaching era.
Baylor prepared for its conference opener with an 83-57 victory over Jackson State on Monday. Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell scored 18, 16 and 14 points, respectively, and Freddie Gillespie added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Bears dominated despite failing to score for the first 3 1/2 minutes of the game. Baylor used back-to-back 13-2 runs to put some distance between them and the Tigers in the first half.
“The flow was just a little off in catching it and making the reads,” Butler said. “You had to get in the rhythm, definitely. Everybody had subbed out at one point and then got back in the game. That’s when we picked it back up and the energy seemed right.”
Baylor has started 10-1 or better through 11 games for the eighth time in the past 13 seasons (since 2007-08). The Bears had only five starts of 9-1 or better in the program’s previous 101 seasons.
“The good thing about this group is a lot of guys got conference experience last year,” Gillespie said. “One thing we all know is it’s rip and go. There’s no time to kick back. The minute (of) that first tip, it’s off to the races.”
Texas heads north up I-35 after a dominating 89-58 home win over High Point on Monday. Jase Febres racked up a team-high 16 points to pace five Longhorns in double figures and produce the best 12-game start for the Longhorns since a 10-2 record in 2014-15.
Jericho Sims posted his third career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while guards Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey added 13 points each. Matt Coleman III recorded 10 points and eight assists against just one turnover in the win.
Jones, a redshirt sophomore, made his first start for Texas since Dec. 5, 2017 — before he was diagnosed with leukemia. Jones was absent for nearly two years while battling the disease and has been a key member of the rotation this season off the bench.
“Andrew’s been really making progress in a lot of ways,” Smart said. “Remember, earlier in the fall he got off of his last treatment. He’s still kind of working his way back, and his confidence is growing.”
Ten players scored for the Longhorns in the win.
“That’s one of the recipes for a team that can continue to grow,” Smart said. “We’ve got different guys that have contributed at different times.”
Texas’ 31-point win marked the team’s largest margin of victory on the season, and the Longhorns set team season highs in points, field goals made (36), field-goal percentage (.554) and blocked shots (seven).
The Texas defense limited High Point to 33.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 15.4 percent (2-13) from 3-point range. The Longhorns registered an 18-0 advantage in second-chance points.
–Field Level Media