WACO, Texas — Pierre Jackson figures his biggest role for Baylor is to get the ball in his hands and try to make something happen. The senior point guard and preseason Big 12 Conference player of the year came through in the clutch against Texas in the league opener Saturday.
Jackson scored 11 of his 24 points, including nine free throws, in overtime, and Cory Jefferson made the tiebreaking free throws with 50 seconds remaining as Baylor beat the Longhorns 86-79 without head coach Scott Drew on the sideline.
“We all have our roles, and that’s just one of mine. ... My teammates and the coaches have a lot of faith in me, confidence in me,” Jackson said. “And I just try to go out there and help my team win. Isaiah (Austin) was telling me the whole time, ‘Bring us home. Bring us home.’ And I was doing my best.”
Jefferson led the Bears (9-5) with 25 points, and Jackson and Jefferson combined to score all but one of Baylor’s 18 points in overtime. Jackson had assists on both of Jefferson’s baskets in the extra session.
Austin, the 7-foot-1 freshman for the Bears, had 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Javan Felix had 26 points and nine assists for Texas (8-6), and Sheldon McClellan scored 21 points.
McClellan’s 3-pointer from the right wing put Texas up 75-74 with 2:25 left in overtime. But the Bears regained the lead when Jackson made a head-fake and drew a foul in the corner with the shot clock running down, then made two of three free throws.
“Pierre Jackson brings a lot of experience and toughness to the team,” Felix said. “He did a good job of controlling the overtime and everything they wanted to do, pretty much. It’s just very difficult when you have a nice, good player like him.”
The Longhorns were up 79-78 when McClellan made a jumper with 1:29 left, but that was their last lead. Jackson made a free throw with 1:22 left after darting into the lane to try to get to the basket.
“Coach emphasized that. Get to the paint,” Jackson said. “We’ve got some great ‘bigs’ in there. If you miss a shot, they’re most likely going to get the rebound and put it back in. Or if they help over, we throw it down to them and it’s a dunk with (Jefferson).”