LUBBOCK, Texas (KXAN) — Texas Tech smothered the Texas offense for most of the second half, sending the Longhorns back to Austin with a 68-59 loss Saturday afternoon. Texas started a crucial four-game stretch to end the regular season with a dud offensively.
Texas didn’t score a basket in the second half until the 11-minute mark when Brock Cunningham hit a 3-pointer in the corner. By that point, the Red Raiders had taken a tie game at halftime and turned it into a 50-42 advantage with a 19-6 run.
Tech limited the Longhorns to 20% shooting in the final 20 minutes. Texas started the second half going 0-11 from the field as Chris Beard’s defense showed its true form, knocking the Longhorns out of rhythm.
This veteran Longhorns team has pulled off several comebacks, including an overtime win against Kansas Tuesday. For a seven minute stint in the second half, it looked like Texas was closing in on another signature win.
Texas shook off its offensive struggles, cutting the Tech lead to 59-56 lead with three minutes to go. Andrew Jones knocked down a 3-pointer, forcing a Red Raiders timeout with 3:24 remaining . Jones never settled into the game after getting two fouls early in the first quarter.
The Longhorns need Jones to be the dependable scoring threat and he wasn’t able to get loose Saturday. Jones finished with eight points, which is well below his season average.
After Tech’s timeout, the Longhorns didn’t make another basket. Jericho Sims was the only source of points, getting three free throws. Texas Tech just leaned on its lead from the free throw line, hitting nine free throws in the closing minutes.
Texas Tech (15-8, 7-7 Big 12) has won seven of the last eight meetings with Texas (14-7, 8-6 Big 12). Sims led the Longhorns scoring 11 points. Red Raiders guard Mac McClung lead all scorers with 16 points.
In the first half, the Longhorns built their largest lead of the game at 24-17 capped off by a Kai Jones dunk on a dish from Sims. The Red Raiders responded with eight straight points for a late lead.
Matt Coleman capped off the first half with five points in the final minute, tying the game at 33 at the break. Coleman scored a 3-point in the final seconds with a Red Raiders defender in his face.
The Longhorns will close out the regular season with a flurry of games next week. These upcoming results will decide where Texas lands in the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament. There is still so much up in the air in the Big 12 standings. The Longhorns could finish anywhere between second and seventh for the conference tournament.
The road trip to Lubbock was the first of four straight road games to end the regular season. Texas will face Iowa State, Oklahoma and TCU next week.