By JIM VERTUNO , AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kerwin Roach II scored 21 points and Matt Coleman III added 18 and Texas cruised to an 84-72 win over Baylor on Wednesday night that knocked the Bears out of a tie for first place in the Big 12.
Baylor had won six in a row to claw to the top of the league before running into a Texas team that could hardly miss on its home court. Texas shot 61 percent in the first half, led by 15 at halftime and was in control the entire way.
The Longhorns (13-10, 5-5) had lost five of their previous six, but like its earlier wins over Oklahoma and Kansas, dug deep to find a big win at home that keeps Texas in play in the Big 12.
Texas could almost nothing wrong on offense, shooting 61 percent in the first half, then dialing up the big 3-pointers in the second to knock out any hopes of a Baylor rally. Defensively, Texas shut down Baylor guard Makai Mason, who had scored 40 points a few days earlier against TCU.
Mark Vital led Baylor (15-7, 6-3) with 14 points.
Texas built the lead as high as 16 in the first half as the Longhorns could hardly miss. Coleman opened the game with a 3-pointer and his second one bounced high and around the rim before falling in.
The Longhorns led by 17 in the second half before Baylor finally made a bid to get back in it and cut the lead to 53-45. Texas quickly ended that rally when Jase Febres made consecutive 3-pointers from nearly the same spot on the right wing.
Roach made another 3-pointer and a tough shot in the lane to beat the shot clock and Texas was back in control with 10 minutes to play.
Baylor: The Bears weren’t bad on offense in the first half but didn’t have the firepower to keep up with Texas’ torrid shooting. The barrage of 3-pointers that flew during the six-game winning streak could have kept it close but never materialized. Mason scored five points in the first half and took just one shot from long range.
Texas: The Longhorns had lost six of their previous eight games but can now make a big move in the Big 12 standings in the next week. They host conference leader Kansas State and face West Virginia and host Oklahoma State, the two teams sitting at the bottom of the Big 12.
Baylor hosts Kansas State on Saturday.
Texas plays at West Virginia on Saturday.
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