AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sheldon McClellan scored 23 points off the bench and Texas beat sinking Baylor 79-70 Monday night, sending the Bears to their eighth loss in 11 games.
Baylor, which fell a game short of the Final Four two of the last three seasons, came in needing to make a late push to improve its NCAA tournament chances this year but fell flat against Texas (14-16, 6-11 Big 12), having its worst season in 15 years.
Myck Kabongo scored 19 points and had eight assists, and Ioannis Papapetrou scored 18 for Texas. Papapetrou's 3-pointer with just under 5 minutes to play stopped a Baylor rally and Julien Lewis added another in the final 2 minutes that put the Longhorns ahead 70-64.
Pierre Jackson scored 22 points to lead Baylor (17-12, 8-9).
Texas led 36-34 at halftime behind 10 points each from Kabongo and McClellan. The Longhorns' Jonathan Holmes ended the half with a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left. Jackson scored 13 in the first half behind three 3-pointers for Baylor.
Texas opened the second half with an 8-2 run keyed by a block by Papapetrou. The play started a fast break that ended with him making a trailing 3-pointer. Kabongo made a 3-pointer to put Texas ahead by eight before Baylor slowly pushed back and tied it at 55 on Jackson's long jumper. The Bears took their only lead of the second half on Deuce Bello's layup off a crosscourt pass from Cory Jefferson with 5:22 to play.
Papapetrou scored two consecutive baskets to put Texas back in front. The second, a 3-pointer from the left corner, came after Papapetrou missed a tough layup but Cameron Ridley tipped the rebound back out to him for a wide-open shot that put Texas up 61-57. Ridley followed it with an emphatic dunk off another offensive rebound.
Baylor fought to stay within three until Julien Lewis made a 3-pointer and Holmes blocked a dunk by Bello with 1:33 to play.
Baylor still has a last chance to repair their fading NCAA tournament credentials. The Bears host No. 4 Kansas in the regular-season finale on Saturday before the Big 12 tournament.
Texas fans will be left wondering if Monday night was their last chance to watch Kabongo at the Frank Erwin Center. The sophomore flirted with the NBA draft after his freshman season — a move that misfired with a trip to Cleveland for a workout the NCAA later determined was an improper benefit and led to his suspension.