No. 7 MBB ready to handle business in revenge game versus No. 11 Texas Tech

After suffering their first loss of the season to Texas Tech University on Jan. 11 in the Ferrell Center, the Bears face off against their conference rivals once again, looking for a win. Brittany Tankersley | Photo Editor

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

No. 7 Baylor men’s basketball is set to face off against No. 11 Texas Tech University for the second time this season at 8 p.m. on Wednesday in the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock. The game will also air on ESPN2.

Baylor will be looking for revenge, as the last time the squads met, the Red Raiders handed the defending champs their first loss of the season, beating them 65-62 in the Ferrell Center, kicking off the start of a rough patch for the Bears. Head coach Scott Drew said he knows TTU is a tough team and what to focus on.

“Like the first time we faced them, it’s two great defenses going at it,” Drew said. “They’re big, strong, physical and do a great job making everything tough. They do a great job competing on the glass. Whenever you’re playing on the road in the Big 12, first and foremost, you got to take care of the ball. We can’t give them easies in transition. Second of all, we got to do a good job making sure that when we get them in rotations, that our shot selection is good because that’s just as bad as a turnover if you take a bad shot. Then other than that, we got off to a great start, 31-16 or 31-15 whatever it was, and then the things that got us the lead we stopped doing, so we just got to do that for 40 minutes instead of 15 or 18.”

Going into the pair’s last matchup, Baylor was 15-0 with no signs of slowing down. Since their matchup, the Bears are 6-4 and have been battling injuries game in and game out. Junior forward Matthew Mayer said he knows Tech is a tough team, but Baylor is ready for the challenge regardless of having to play on the road.

“I love that kind of stuff,” Mayer said. “That’s what playing is all about, having fun with the atmosphere. I’m looking forward to it … Tech loves energy, they’re tough guys, they play hard. They play really hard every possession. Last game was tough, we definitely don’t want to end up getting swept, so we’re going into the game with a lot of focus, and we’re ready to take care of business.”

This is the fourth consecutive matchup in which both Baylor and Tech are ranked in the top 20 after not happening at all in their first 140 meetings. Drew said he loves how much the sport has grown in Texas and knows this battle between two of the best teams in the state is going to bring a lot of energy, as Tech is just one game behind second place Baylor in the Big 12 standings.

“You love basketball in Texas, the excitement that it brings in over the years, the momentum it’s picked up,” Drew said. “You look at last year, two Final Four teams from the state — there’s a lot of excitement about basketball. Our fans have been outstanding and I know the students have brought a lot of energy to Tech as well.”