After a close first half, the No. 21 Bears team fell short at home against Texas Tech, 84-66.
“Disappointed obviously. Really got to credit Texas Tech for shooting 58 percent,” said head coach Scott Drew. “Defensively, I thought they made some tough shots, I thought we could do some things better defensively. The big thing is they caused 16 turnovers. Tech is a low-possession team.
The Bears (18-7, 7-5) looked to come out on top again after senior guard Lester Medford hit a buzzer-beating three to beat the Red Raiders 63-60 on the road on January 16.
The Red Raiders (15-9, 5-7) were coming off an overtime victory against No. 14 Iowa State at home. With the recent victory adding to their momentum, the Red Raiders may have had a worse conference record, but played with more intensity in the second half to take over the game and get revenge over the Bears.
With the Red Raiders starting the half by draining shots, the Bears were forced to step up to a higher level of play.
The Bears rallied in the first half after being down by 10, to cut the lead to one going into the half, 33-32.
Coming back from the break, both teams came out attacking, but it was the Red Raiders that made the biggest impact.
Tied at 35, the Bears look poised to take the momentum, but were halted when the Red Raiders went on a 10-0 run with just under 16 minutes remaining, forcing head coach Scott Drew to call a timeout.
Unable to stop sophomore guard Keenan Evans who scored a career-high 21 points which aided to the run, the Bears saw the life draining out of them.
Medford drained a three to end the run, but it was not enough to get the Bears intensity going.
Senior Forward Taurean Prince came up big for the Bears, scoring 17 points and bring in four rebounds.
“Just guys not having the same intensity as they should,” Prince said. “That goes on your seniors not being able to get guys’ minds right before games. We definitely were playing to win. Some things just didn’t go our way, just the moral of the story.”
Coming off the bench, sophomore forward Jonathan Motley also made an impact. In just 13 minutes of play, Motley went 5-6 from the field to give the Bears a needed spark.
Senior forward Rico Gathers who was back in action after missing the game earlier in the week due to illness recorded seven points and nine rebounds.
However, with just under two minutes of play remaining in regulation, Prince was ejected from the game after picking up the flagrant foul.
With Prince off the court and the Red Raiders continuing to dominate, the Bears saw the game crumbling out of their hands.
“I thought Rico’s effort was very good considering how sick he was. I was disappointed we didn’t finish,” Drew said.
The Bears started playing down and giving up easy shots Prince said.
“It’s real big. This is my last go-round so you got to take advantage of every opportunity. We have to go back to practice working hard. “
Looking to bounce back, the Bears take on No. 14 Iowa State 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.