Here are a few quick thoughts from Texas’ road loss in Lubbock.
Texas blew a key opportunity to keep pacing the Big 12 standings. The Horns entered the night with just a slim one-game edge over No. 9 Baylor, and that lead is now gone with the Bears winning tonight. Of course, Texas currently owns the tie-breaker there, but in comparison to what remains ahead on the schedule with four ranked games to close the season, this one one of the easiest games left and the Longhorns couldn’t capitalize. Just a brutal blow for Texas’ chances of actually finishing as the top team in the league.
The Red Raiders just wanted this one more. Texas never really found a way to come remotely close to matching Tech’s energy and physicality tonight, and that showed with Texas getting beat to several loose balls and more notably, getting outrebounded, 40-29. Just a top-to-bottom poor effort from Texas given that the Red Raiders don’t have much to play for while Texas is playing for a potential 1 or 2 seed in the tournament and a Big 12 regular season title. The fact that Texas had a chance late is nothing short of a miracle, but they probably didn’t deserve to win this one with how they played.
Marcus Carr needed some help tonight. He caught fire from deep (5-9), sinking several in some key moments to help Texas claw back into the game, and he more than played his part in punching back at Texas Tech with 23 points and six assists. But aside from that, the rest of the Longhorns left much to be desired. Timmy Allen (2 points, 0-4 FG), and Sir’Jabari Rice (8 points and they call came in the first few minutes, 3-8 FG) couldn’t hit any of the shots they typically sink, which is significant given they’re almost always the big three for Texas. Tyrese Hunter did add nine points, but they came in ways that it was almost hard to feel his impact — Dillion Mitchell had none, to that end. Aside from Carr, the only Longhorn who played winning basketball tonight was Dylan Disu with some key late plays to total 11 points and nine boards, but much of that came too late for Texas. With March looming, how few Longhorns contribute on any given night remains incredibly concerning.
Free throws ain’t always free. Texas is the best in the Big 12 when it comes to free throws, but tonight? Just 10-17, with two key misses that could have made it a one-point game with less than minute remaining. Between that and the bank being wide open for Texas Tech, and the seemingly countless point-blank misses, it was just that kind of night for the Longhorns.