IT WAS a quick exit for Shaquille Cleare and his Texas Longhorns in the Phillips 66 Big 12 tournament.
The No.23 Longhorns suffered an opening round loss to the No.22 Baylor Bears, 75-61 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
Cleare had his second best scoring output of the season with 12 points and also grabbed three rebounds. He tied his career high with six made field goals (6-10) as his other double figure scoring game also came against the Bears.
“We didn’t get stops when we needed to and I think it affected some of the guys. Those guys drove it the whole game and we weren’t good defending it at all. That’s why we didn’t win,” Cleare said. “It’s hard to swallow but we have to put this behind us and get ready for next week.”
Texas led 8-6 early on, but the Bears would take control for good early on with a 13-1 run. Their first double figure lead came in the first half, 19-9.
The Bears led by as much as 15 with 4:16 remaining in the first half, but the Longhorns closed the half on an 11-7 run, including six points from Cleare, to trail 38-27 at the break.
Cleare continued his standout play early in the second half by scoring six of the Longhorns’ first 10 points as his team came within 10.
The Bears would respond to extend the lead to 19 and seal the right to advance.
Cleare, the junior forward and Andros native, has averaged 3.5 points and three rebounds per game.
In his debut season with the Longhorns, Cleare has appeared with the Longhorns to play at home in the Battle 4 Atlantis and set a new career high with 14 points against Baylor last month.
Texas will learn its postseason fate during the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday (March 13) broadcasted on CBS.