#7 Texas (20-3, 8-1) cruised past Texas Tech (12-11, 4-5) in front of a half-empty United Spirit Arena and a national television audience. We know the Red Raiders are down when they can't even sell out against the Horns. The reported attendance was 10,023 leaving at least 5,000 empty seats. Those who actually showed up were treated to a dominating performance by the Texas frontcourt.
PJ Tucker recorded his third straight double-double with a game high 18 points and a game and career high 17 rebounds. With just less than half the conference season left, Tucker is definitely the favorite for Big 12 Player of the Year and should receive serious consideration for First Team All American. There simply are not five college basketball players better than Tucker.
Lamarcus Aldridge also showed up to play. Although he still relied too heavily on weak post moves and fade away jumpers, Aldridge did finish with a respectable 17 points and 11 rebounds. Even more impressively, he stayed out of foul trouble and played the full 40 minutes.
While the frontcourt excelled, the backcourt struggled shooting the basketball. Texas was playing their third game in six days and their fourth in the last nine. Open shots were missed, and three point shots looked flat. The team went just 4/17 from behind the three point arc. Daniel Gibson struggled shooting, finishing just 2-11 from the floor with 8 points. Kenton Paulino was better, but not great. He shot 4-10 from the floor and contributed 10 points. AJ Abrams played just six minutes. I didn't see if he was hurt, or just tired, or if Barnes wanted to work JD Lewis and Connor Atchley into the lineup instead.
Texas once again dominated on defense and on the glass. Tech shot just 32% from the floor and were outrebound 46-19. Outrebounding a conference opponent by 27 is outstanding and probably close to a record. Tech rarely got second looks and even less frequently scored second chance points.
This was a game that Texas should win and did win. The Horns maintain their one game lead over Kansas in the Big 12. They also reach the twenty win mark for the seventh consecutive season. Right now, Texas is doing exactly what they have to against less talented competition. The Horns have four needed days off before getting Nebraska at home on Saturday and Baylor at home next Tuesday. Two home wins should put the Horns at 22-3 heading into their final five games: at Ok. State, at Kansas St., versus Kansas, at Texas A&M, and versus OU. A 15-1 conference mark is not out of the question, nor is a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.