KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—LaceDarius Dunn went from no factor in the first half to leading factor in the second.
Benched with three fouls and only two points less than 5 minutes into the game, Dunn exploded for 17 points after intermission and No. 21 Baylor romped past Texas 86-67 Thursday night in a Big 12 semifinal match between old and bitter rivals.
“I wanted to come out and help my team,” said Dunn, the Big 12’s second-leading scorer. “I just wanted to do what I’ve been doing all year, whatever it takes to get the victory.”
Epke Udoh, the Big 12’s newcomer of the year, scored 25 points for the third-seeded Bears (25-6), who will meet No. 2 seed Kansas State in the semis.
Damion James had 18 points and 12 rebounds for his second straight double-double for Texas (24-9) but the all-conference senior drew one of Texas’ two technicals and fouled out with 2:43 left. A few seconds later, center Dexter Pittman also fouled out for Texas, which started the season 17-0 and climbed to No. 1 before falling out of the rankings.
“I think it sums up our whole season in the last couple of months,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “We went through a 4- or 5-minute period where we just came unraveled. Someone thinks, ‘I’ve got to go do it to turn it around,’ as opposed to staying together. The game I think pretty much sums up the inconsistencies that we’ve had all year.”
Tweety Carter had 20 points for Baylor, which swept Texas three in a row this season for the first time since 1981-82. Altogether, the Bears are on a four-game winning streak against the school that had long dominated them.
“I know Texas is a very good team,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “And coach Barnes does a great job. He’s made it an elite program in the nation. Any time you beat them, period, you’re doing something well.”
Baylor managed to take a 43-39 lead into halftime in spite of getting only two points from Dunn. He and Texas’ J’Covan Brown each drew a technical foul right past the 4-minute mark of the first half when players on each team began taunting.
Officials acted quickly before things got out of hand between the two rivals who were playing for the 234th time.
“I just got caught up in the moment,” Dunn said. “One of my players got into it with one of theirs, and I got caught up in the moment.”
But Dunn wasted no time getting into the second-half flow, scoring seven points in a 13-2 run that put Baylor in command right off the bat.
Pittman’s basket got the Longhorns to 43-41 in the first seconds of the second half, then Udoh scored, Dunn followed with a driving layup and Udoh came right back with another basket.
Dunn, fouled by James, sank a free throw and then followed with another basket and then another foul shot when James was whistled for a technical foul.
After Carter stole a Texas pass and drove in for a layup, the Bears led 56-41.
Pittman scored six straight points and cut the lead to 64-59 before Dunn answered with a 10-footer and Carter followed with a running one-handed basket.
Dunn, with an assist from Carter, went in for a layup and made the foul shot when Pittman picked up his fourth foul, putting Baylor up 71-61.
Pittman and Avery Bradley each had 14 points for the Longhorns.
James, who had 28 points and 16 rebounds on Wednesday against Iowa State, picked up right where he left off, putting in 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half.
“We’ve got to stay together as a team even when the other team’s making a run,” James said. “We just can’t break down. It’s tough. At the beginning of the second half, they were talking and I let it get the best of me. I broke down. I can’t do that. When I did that, they made their run. You can’t let 5 minutes get away from you like that. We let that 5 minutes go and we couldn’t ever get it back.”