Thursday, April 18

Texas Tech basketball: 3 reasons Red Raiders were able to take down Texas

Feb 19, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders forward Bryson Williams (11) and Texas Longhorns forward Christian Bishop (32) in jump ball to start the game at Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

On the day when the Texas Tech basketball team was announced as the No. 10 overall seed by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, which gave the nation its first sneak peek of how the Big Dance would be seeded were it to begin this week, Mark Adams’ team made a rather loud statement about deserving to be seeded even higher than they already are.  And a huge factor in Tech’s ability to make that statement came thanks to the noise generated on the road by the traveling Red Raider fans who took over Austin and helped carry Tech to a 61-55 victory.

Playing in front of a throng of Red Raider fans who turned the Erwin Center into a neutral-site venue, the No. 11 Red Raiders moved to 21-6 on the season and 10-4 overall in Big 12 play to stay in second place in the conference race.

“This game felt like a tug-of-war,”  Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said afterward. “They were fighting for everything and we were doing the same.”

But though the game was in doubt until the final minute, thanks to a 7-0 run to open the second half Tech would hold a lead for the final 19:10 of the contest after the game was knotted at 28 at halftime.  And although, time and again, Texas would mount a rally each time the Red Raiders would find an answer.

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That was especially true at the end of the game when the Red Raiders would see Texas cut a 10-point Tech lead down to just 57-55 with slightly more than a minute to play.  But fortunately, the defense would hold Texas scoreless in the final minute of regulation while making just enough free throws to seal the win.

This marked the seventh win over a ranked team this year for Adams and Co. and, of course, the second victory over former Red Raider head coach Chris Beard, whose team fell to 19-8 overall and 8-6 in Big 12 play.

“They don’t hand the trophy out in February. They do that in April. It’s a hurt locker room right now, but we’ll be back,” Beard said defiantly following the loss.  But make no mistake, his pride, as well as what little pride the fan base in Austin may have for Longhorn basketball has to be damaged.

If Tech’s win over Texas in Lubbock earlier this month was about making a statement that the Red Raiders will be fine without Beard at the helm, Saturday’s win was a resounding message to UT and the rest of the nation that Texas is not in the same league as the Red Raiders are as a program right now.

Texas Tech fans overran the Erwin Center like an invading army to the point that audible “Defense” chants rained down on the court when the Longhorns had the ball in key moments.  What’s more, the Red Raiders in attendance even lustily jeered UT guard Andrew Jones with a deafening “air-ball” chant after he failed to draw iron on a late 3-point attempt.

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In all, the afternoon was about reiterating which of the two programs is on the rise, a rise fueled by one of the most passionate fan bases in the nation and one which is struggling to get out of its own way on the court while having to try to pull parlor tricks in order to keep tickets out of the hands of the Red Raider faithful.

So let’s go inside the box score and take a look at three reasons the Red Raiders came out on top.  And we will begin by appreciating the work of Tech’s unexpected hero.

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