Men’s hoops can’t top Texas Tech
By Chris Derrett
Baylor men’s basketball had plenty of chances to overtake Texas Tech in Saturday’s game, but when it mattered most, the Red Raiders hit their shots. The Bears either missed or turned the ball over before having a chance, falling 78-69.
With the loss, the Bears’ task of making the NCAA tournament becomes even more difficult. Road contests with Missouri and Oklahoma State and home matchups with Texas A&M and Texas await them.
“[Tonight’s loss] makes it extremely difficult,” coach Scott Drew said about Big Dance hopes. “But at the same time, as long as there’s a chance to play, we’ve still got a chance.”
The Bears got within two points when senior LaceDarius Dunn’s free throw cut the Texas Tech lead to 64-62. But back-to-back midrange jumpers from Robert Lewandowski and Brad Reese pushed the lead back to 68-62, a stretch in which the Bears committed three turnovers.
When the buzzer hit zero, Baylor was “dejected, disappointed, upset as much as you can be after a game,” Drew said. “But you want to give Texas Tech the credit. They got every big play, every loose ball, everything they needed to have.”
From there, the Red Raiders iced the game with free throws and handed Baylor its third home loss since the beginning of last season.
Dunn led the Bears with 21 points on 8 of 16 shooting, while Reese’s 17 topped all Red Raiders.
On five occasions in the second half, Baylor cut the Red Raider lead to two points. Each time Texas Tech responded with points, never allowing the Bears to tie the game.
“We couldn’t make that extra push to get over that hump and take over the game and get it in our favor,” Dunn said. “They came out and wanted it more than we did.”
Adding to Baylor’s frustration was the manner in which its opponent answered. Texas Tech found holes in the Bears’ zone defense that led to 32 points scored in the paint. Off turnovers, the Red Raiders netted 11 points, and another eight came via second chance.
“When you give up 51 percent defensive field goal percentage, when you get outrebounded and when you have 10 assists, 16 turnovers, you don’t deserve to win. And we know that,” Drew said.
The teams went back-and-forth before a 10-1 run gave Texas Tech a 32-24 advantage with two minutes left in the first half.
Baylor seized a 14-6 lead earlier, but the Red Raiders erased that deficit on their own 8-0 run.
Mistakes obvious in game film
Baylor players and coaches had a chance to review the footage from Texas Tech’s game. It wasn’t pretty, sophomore A.J. Walton said.
“It’s bad. It’s bad for our team, our coaches, our RPI, everything. It was just a bad loss altogether,” Walton said.
No stranger to watching his team turn the ball over this season, Drew recognizes the clock is ticking closer to March Madness with the Bears looking in from the outside of the bubble.
“Ball handling’s not one of our strengths. That’s easy to see; it’s plain to see. Can we get better at it? Yes. Can we improve in it? Yes. Will we? Time’s running out; we need to soon,” Drew said.