Expect the sledding to be tough for No. 5 Texas when it visits dangerous Texas Tech on Monday night for a key Big 12 Conference contest in Lubbock, Texas.
It’s always a battle when these two teams play, and the animosity created when Texas lured former coach Chris Beard away from the Red Raiders in 2021 heightened those sentiments. Beard is no longer with the Longhorns — he was fired in December after being arrested for felony domestic assault — but the Texas Tech fan base will still be demanding its pound of flesh.
Texas (20-5, 9-3 Big 12) won the first matchup of the season between the teams, 72-70, in Austin on Jan. 14.
The Red Raiders (13-12, 2-10) have a team that can do some damage, especially on their home court. Just ask then-No. 13 Iowa State, who fell in overtime on Jan. 30. Or ask No. 12 Kansas State, who lost in Lubbock 71-63 on Saturday.
De’Vion Harmon paced the Red Raiders with 20 points against the Wildcats while Lamar Washington had a career-high 13 points, Jaylon Tyson added 11 and Kevin Obanor scored 10 points.
Texas Tech forced a Kansas State into a season-high 23 turnovers in Saturday’s win and secured the victory with a 7-2 run over the closing two minutes. The Red Raiders’ defense allowed K-State just two field goals over the game’s final five minutes.
“(The closing stretch) speaks volumes for this team,” Tech coach Mark Adams said. “We’ve been in this situation many, many times. We know we want to win, but we haven’t been able to. We made some mistakes, but at least we’re aggressive doing it. It was good to see these guys attack the way they attacked tonight.”
The Longhorns head to Lubbock after one of their most impressive performances of the season, a 94-60 home win over West Virginia on Saturday afternoon that kept them atop the Big 12 standings.
Sir’Jabari Rice poured in season-high 24 points off the bench to lead Texas but it was the Longhorns’ ball-hawking defense that made the difference.
Texas forced West Virginia into 20 turnovers that it converted into 32 points. The Mountaineers finished with more turnovers than made field goals (19).
“We had really good carryover from our really good two days of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and guys brought that to the floor (against West Virginia),” Texas interim coach Rodney Terry said. “We were able to beat a team that’s been playing really well.”
Marcus Carr added 16 points for the Longhorns in the victory, with Timmy Allen scoring 14 and Arterio Morris tallying 12 as Texas won for the fifth time in its past six Big 12 games.
“I’ve said this all along, that I thought our best basketball is still ahead of us because we still really want to continue to get better offensively and defensively,” Terry added.
Texas’ record after 25 games is its best since the 2010-11 season, when it started 22-3. The Longhorns are 13-4 since Terry took charge from Beard.
–Field Level Media