Texas-Baylor Preview

BY foxsports • February 1, 2016

Baylor likes to use an imposing frontcourt led by Rico Gathers to bully its opponents while Texas continues to gradually adjust to new coach Shaka Smart's fast-paced ''havoc'' approach.

Big 12 teams with contrasting styles will be on display Monday night when the 15th-ranked Bears host the Longhorns.

Baylor (17-4, 6-2) leads the conference in rebound margin at plus-9.9 while Texas is last at minus-0.3. Gathers is averaging a Big 12-best 10.5 rebounds and has seven double-doubles this season and 31 in his career.

Gathers had 17 points and nine rebounds and Taurean Prince scored 13 in an 83-73 win over Georgia on Saturday. Those forwards combined for 14 of the Bears' season-high 36 free throw attempts.

''I think our guards did a good job of getting the ball inside and just getting the big men going," Gathers said. "Whenever you play ball like that, it opens up for the outside."

Texas (14-7, 5-3) has won five of six after beating Vanderbilt 72-58 on Saturday at home. The Longhorns forced eight turnovers in a first half in which they held the Commodores to 6-of-21 shooting and built a 31-16 lead.

Thirteen turnovers by Vanderbilt were converted into 20 points by Texas, which matched a season high with 10 steals.

''Our guys are trying to play the way we're asking them to play,'' Smart said. ''It's a mentality. Some people are born that way, some people it takes a year or two or three years in a program. The key to me, if I could say one word, would be aggressiveness."

Texas struggled in losing three of four after losing center Cameron Ridley to a fractured left foot after a win at Stanford on Dec. 19. Now the Longhorns have picked up steam in this 5-1 stretch that includes two wins over ranked teams.

"What I have seen is they're one of the hottest teams in conference," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Coach Smart has really got them playing well as a cohesive unit. When Cameron went down it took a little time to get rolling again. But they're playing great basketball and they have a different style."

Freshman Kerwin Roach Jr. never scored more than 14 points before surpassing that total in consecutive victories. He scored 22 in Tuesday's 71-54 victory over TCU and had his first double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds Saturday.

"He's coming," Smart said. "He's making progress. I'm real excited about him, because he's always worked ever since he got here at his game."

Prince Ibeh notched his second straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds while leading scorer Isaiah Taylor chipped in with 11 points.

Roach is a former high school teammate of Baylor's Johnathan Motley, and these two will meet for the first time. Motley is a 6-foot-9 forward averaging 13.0 points on 75.5 percent shooting in his last seven games after he scored 12 in 14 minutes against the Bulldogs.

"It gives us a little added confidence coming into the UT game, so we'll be doing everything we can to win," Motley said.

Each team won at home in two meetings last season.

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