NCAA BK

Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 9:00 PM ET
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After having the Big 12 title all but slip away with a pair of ugly road losses, Texas is hoping to regain its focus and extend its winning ways at home.

That could be a difficult task as it faces resurgent Baylor, which is on the cusp of its longest Big 12 winning streak in 16 years.

The 24th-ranked Longhorns look to avoid a season-worst third straight loss with their seventh home win in a row Wednesday night against the Bears.

Texas (20-7, 9-5) trailed league-leading Kansas by one game before coming up short in an 85-76 loss at then-No. 17 Iowa State on Feb. 18 and suffering its worst defeat of the season Saturday, 85-54 to the then-No. 8 Jayhawks.

The Longhorns put up 18 first-half points on 6-of-29 shooting at Kansas and missed 11 of 19 free-throw attempts overall.

"I think we should give a refund to the fans," coach Rick Barnes said. "Topeka YMCA probably would have given them a little better game, because we didn't give them a good game at all."

While the Jayhawks have secured at least a share of their 10th straight conference crown, Texas still has a slim chance to earn a tie with four consecutive victories and a whole lot of help.

The Longhorns will try to find their shooting touch after posting a combined 33.6 field-goal percentage in the back-to-back losses. Texas is 18-1 when it shoots above 40.0 percent.

Jonathan Holmes finished with 17 points while making 7 of 11 shots Saturday, though guards Isaiah Taylor, Demarcus Holland and Javan Felix went a combined 4 for 28 for 13 points.

Felix has totaled 22 points on 8-of-31 shooting in the last two games, but he's scored 45 while making 53.3 percent of his shots in his last two at home.

Taylor, who missed 13 of 14 shots Saturday, led the then-unranked Longhorns with 27 points in a 74-60 victory at then-No. 24 Baylor on Jan. 25.

The Bears (18-9, 6-8) have tightened things up lately, holding opponents to a 38.8 field-goal percentage over their four-game winning streak. Another victory would match the program's longest conference run, set in January 1998.

Last month's loss to Texas came in the midst of a 2-8 stretch that had the Bears teetering away from an NCAA tournament bid. Now they're back in the conversation following Saturday's 88-75 win at West Virginia.

''We've got to keep working hard to get to the tournament,'' said forward Royce O'Neale, who made all eight shots en route to matching a career high with 22 points.

Isaiah Austin added 19 points and seven blocks, and Cory Jefferson had 15 points and 12 rebounds as he moved four points away from becoming Baylor's 28th 1,000-point scorer.

Austin has averaged 16.8 points and 5.4 blocks over his last five, and Jefferson has scored 20.3 while pulling down 12.0 boards per game in the past three.

They'll likely have to put up a better effort against Texas after teaming for 15 points on 4-of-16 shooting in the first meeting.

Baylor finished with a 32.1 field-goal percentage, including a season-worst 3 for 17 from 3-point range, while losing its second straight to the Longhorns after winning seven of nine.

The Bears, however, have shown improvement offensively by averaging 84.0 points and hitting 41.9 percent from beyond the arc during their win streak.

Baylor has dropped 13 of the past 15 meetings in Austin.

Tagged: Baylor, Texas

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