AUSTIN, Texas — For the fourth straight game, the No. 20 Texas Longhorns are at the Moody Center, this time for the Big 12 opener against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday.
In 2023, Texas avoided a fifth straight home loss to Texas Tech, which has won 10 of the last 15 games between the two schools. Both teams enter the contest with 11-2 record following some of the nation’s weakest non-conference schedules with the Longhorns losing to two ranked opponents. Over the first 13 games, the Red Raiders did not face a single ranked team.
Texas starting lineup
- Senior guard Max Abmas
- Junior guard Tyrese Hunter
- Senior forward Brock Cunningham
- Sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell
- Senior forward Kadin Shedrick
Hunter continued his strong play on the first possession, using a pump fake to get penetrate for a mid-range jumper. After Texas Tech guard Pop Isaacs hit a three, Abmas hit one of his own from the corner on a quick release, then Mitchell hit a short jumper to extend the Texas lead to 7-3 nearing the first media timeout, which came following a fast-break layup by the Red Raiders and a charge called on Shedrick, who had also missed two shots in the paint on post moves.
The early highlight came when Texas Tech guard Joe Tousaaint got what he thought was a mismatch on Texas senior forward Dylan Disu and tried to shake him with a series of crossover moves, but ended up getting stripped. Starting the fast break, Disu finished in transition through the foul and converted at the free-throw line for the three-point play.
Texas Tech forward Warren Washington responded with two baskets around the rim, but Disu stopped the mini spurt with his sixth three of the season on seventh attempts and Hunter drew a goaltending call with a drive to the basket to take a 17-10 lead into the under-12 timeout.
Toussaint scored three baskets out of the break and a loose ball led to a layup for the Red Raiders to take a one-point lead and force a timeout by Longhorns head coach Rodney Terry as Texas missed two shots and turned the ball over twice in a scoreless drought of nearly three minutes.
The run continued for Tech with Toussaint scoring again following a missed three by Hunter, who finally broke the drought with a driving floater in the paint challenged well by the Red Raiders. Remaining hot, Toussaint hit a three after a pump fake to take a 23-19 lead into the third media timeout of the first half after scoring 11 of the previous 13 points for the visiting team.
Terry assigned Mitchell the task of slowing down Toussaint out of the timeout. Meanwhile, Mitchell went to the line twice, converting two of his attempts. Toussaint stayed aggressive, but couldn’t hit an off-balance shot in the lane over Mitchell after a drive. On the block, Washington bodied Shedrick for a layup and drew a foul after a catch at the rim, splitting his trip to the line. On the other end, Tech was leaving Mitchell alone in the corner before a a dive to the rim resulted in a layup for the sophomore forward. Tenacious, Mitchell got blocked on a dunk attempt on the next possession, retrieved the loose ball, and converted another layup, causing Red Raiders head coach Grant McCasland to call his use-it-or-lose-it timeout with his team leading 28-25 with 4:40 remaining in the half.
Hunter tied the game with a corner three to get the Moody Center crowd into the game for the first time besides booing Texas Tech guard Pop Isaacs, who responded with a three. After 6’6 guard Darrion Williams took advantage of a matchup against Abmas, Hunter hit a bank shot through contact to send the game into the under-four timeout with Texas trailing 33-30 and a free throw pending.
After Hunter converted the free throw, Washington threw down a dunk on a slipped screen and Texas committed a shot-clock violation. Missed opportunities defined two following possessions, a missed dunk by Shedrick and an attempted lob from Hunter to Mitchell that somehow went over the hands of the high-flying forward. Then Shedrick fouled a jump shooter, leading to two points at the line, but Hunter’s aggressiveness getting into the lane paid off with a converted floater the Longhorns needed with the first-half clock ticking down, coming to a conclusion with a missed shot by Isaacs and a 37-33 lead for the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech turned the ball over trying to isolate Abmas defensively, Shedrick rebounded a missed shot for a layup, and Mitchell threw down a dunk in transition to tie the game quickly. When Mitchell rebounded a bad miss by Abmas and made a layup, McCasland had to call a quick timeout thanks to the 6-0 run out of halftime.
The timeout worked, as Washington threw down a dunk, Hunter turned the ball over on an ill-advised lob attempt to Shedrick, and Tech hit a three on the other end. Fortunately for Texas, Abmas responded with corner three to tie the game again, a deadlock broken on a put back by Washington before the under-16 timeout.
A hustle offensive rebound by Texas sophomore guard Chendall Weaver produced a second-chance basket, Tech responded with a three off a drive, and Abmas hit his own three off the bounce in a fast paced exchange on both ends that continued with Isaacs hitting a three and Abmas driving for a wrong-footed layup. A foul called on a moving screen by Texas Tech finally slowed the momentum for the Red Raiders, but only temporarily, hitting a three following a baseline drive and finish by Disu. At the under-12 timeout, the visitors led 55-51 while shooting 60 percent in the second half, exceeding the 50-percent shooting by the Longhorns.
After suffering from foul trouble in the first half, Disu went to the bench with 9:42 remaining on being called for an offensive foul with ball for making contact with a Texas Tech player while Abmas ran off him. On the next possession, Cunningham lost the ball out of bounds after Isaacs made a basket, prompting Terry to use his penultimate timeout with 9:19 remaining and the Red Raiders leading by seven points, a crucial moment in the game.
Despite some tenacious defense by Texas, Texas Tech scored on a drive to take its biggest lead of the game. Desperately needing a basket, Abmas hit a three, but Toussaint responded by scoring his first points since his 11-point surge in the first half and Cunningham was called for a foul on the baseline to end the Red Raiders into the bonus with a 63-55 lead and a win probability of 89.2 percent, according to ESPN.
Struggling to defend without fouling, Texas sent Washington to the line for two made free throws and Shedrick had a three rim out down nine points, but Hunter hit a jumper on a pass from Abmas, the Longhorns got a stop on a scrambling possession defensively, and Abmas drew a foul in transition, only the sixth of the second half for the Red Raiders.
Shedrick missed two efforts at the rim, though, and hustle from Cunningham couldn’t save the critical possession as Disu checked back in after another foul was called on Tech. Finally in the bonus, Hunter made both to cut the deficit to five points. Williams went at Cunningham on the other end, hitting a bank shot and sending the Texas defensive stalwart to the bench with his fifth foul. Hunter missed in a key situation with every possession mattering, but the Horns got a stop when Shedrick blocked a shot and Abmas raced to his spot on the baseline for a made jumper. After another strong defensive possession by Texas, Hunter drew a foul on a drive to send the game into the final media timeout with Texas Tech leading 69-63.
Hunter missed both and Isaacs hit a layup as Shedrick went down holding his back before getting up gingerly. Then Abmas slipped and had to throw the ball up towards Disu at the rim, resulting in a turnover that Texas Tech quickly turned into a fast-break basket to essentially put the game away with a 10-point lead and 2:24 remaining.
The Red Raiders closed out their fifth win in their last six trips to Austin, handing the Longhorns their second loss at the Moody Center, 78-67.