Expect plenty of defensive intensity between No. 4 Texas and No. 15 Texas Tech when the rivals square off on Wednesday in Austin as part of the Big 12 Conference gauntlet.
With five of the Big 12’s 10 teams among the top 15 in the latest Associated Press poll (and three rated in the top six), virtually every league game is a battle.
The Longhorns (10-1, 4-0 Big 12) head home off a thrilling 72-70 win at then-No. 14 West Virginia on Saturday in which Andrew Jones hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining.
The Red Raiders (10-3, 3-2) fly into Austin off a dominating 91-64 road victory over Iowa State in which Texas Tech shot a season-best 58.9 percent from the floor.
Jones’ winning 3-pointer, the only shot the Longhorns made from beyond the arc in the second half, gave Texas its sixth straight win. The Longhorns trailed from midway through the first half but scored the game’s final seven points to keep their streak alive.
“I’m proud of the way our guys hung in there and stayed together,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “Not an easy game. We did not shoot the ball well from outside. West Virginia made a lot of tough shots, but our guys hung in there.”
Texas continued its best start in Big 12 play since the 2010-11 season, when it began league play with 11 straight wins.
Courtney Ramey led all scorers with 19 points in the win over West Virginia. Jones scored 16, Matt Coleman III added 13, Greg Brown III had 12 points and 14 rebounds and Kai Jones contributed 10 points for Texas.
“We owe a lot of teams who feel we’re not tough, we’re not strong or we’re just hype,” Jones said after the win over the Mountaineers. “This team is very mature, very experienced, very unselfish. We all have one goal, and that’s just winning.”
Texas Tech has won two consecutive games and four of its past five.
Kyler Edwards led the Red Raiders in the victory over Iowa State, tying a season high with 19 points, 16 of which came in the first half as Texas Tech built a 54-30 advantage.
“My confidence comes from my work,” Edwards said. “It’s the process. And my teammates encouraging me, keep telling me to shoot it. They kept giving me good looks tonight.”
Mac McClung added 18 points for the Red Raiders on 8-of-10 shooting, sophomore Kevin McCullar Jr. recorded his first career double-double, scoring 15 points and collecting 11 rebounds, and Terrence Shannon Jr. put up 11 points for Texas Tech in the victory.
“Something special in team sports: road wins, things you always remember later on,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “Already, (we’re) 2-0 on the road in the Big 12. Our players deserve all the credit. The guys were dialed in on an individual level.”
Texas Tech’s offense has come alive over the past two games, averaging 86.5 points per contest in wins over Kansas State and Iowa State after averaging just 67.8 points per game in their first three contests against Big 12 opponents.
–Field Level Media