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Weekend War Zone: Texas Tech is Going Streak(break)ing?

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The Red Raiders sit atop the Big 12 standings, and are in prime position to stay there.

Melissa Triebwasser

Thanks to Texas Tech hog-tying and slaughtering the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth and Oklahoma State pulling off a shocking upset in Lawrence, the Red Raiders sit tied with Kansas at the top of the Big 12 standings, holding a crucial tie-breaker thanks to their own road win at the Phogg. The Jayhawks’ title streak looks more vulnerable than ever, and we may soon be living in a world where Tech Basketball, of all people, breaks it.

Yikes.

Monday:

#7 Kansas 70, Kansas State 56

Inconsistent K State couldn’t upend their in-state rival on their home floor, as Svi Mykhailiuk poured in 22 points in 39 minutes to compliment big nights by Devonte’ Graham (19/11) and Malik Newman (13/10/3). Kansas got nothing from their bench - just two points and seven rebounds - but the Wildcats didn’t get much from anyone outside of Dean Wade (20/8/2). The win got KU (temporarily) back on track as they try and fend off Texas Tech and secure their one thousandth consecutive conference crown.

Tuesday:

TCU 79, Oklahoma State 66

TCU needed this one badly, as they found a way to win on the road in a tough environment after basically pooping the bed in Nashville the weekend before. TCU hadn’t won in Stillwater in close to 100 years, but controlled the pace and the tempo early and pulled away late for a much needed win. Alex Robinson and Kenrich Williams led the way, combining for 26 points as two of the five Frogs in double figures. Kouat Noi was big off the bench with a couple threes, and TCU’s much-maligned defense held the Cowboys to just 41% shooting and 16 free throw attempts. Jeremy Carroll was big for Okie State, who had four players in double digits, but the Frogs were able to limit Solomon and Waters to minimal damage.

Baylor 96, #12 Oklahoma 98

One of the most entertaining games of the week was nearly its biggest upset, as the Bears gave the Sooners all they could handle on their home floor, choking away a big opportunity for a season-salvaging win with poor decision making and clock management in the waning moments. And since they couldn’t get the win, we get more Trae Young slobbering, as the freshmen went for 44 points (thanks in large part to 19 free throw attempts) on 11-20 shooting overall and 6-11 from three - but hey, only six turnovers, which is better than his usual output in conference play. Young was able to get some whistles late to help seal the win, but he didn’t do it on his own, as Lattin, Manek, and Odomes each dropped 15 plus. The Sooners got nothing from their bench though, and that has to be the big concern down the stretch. Baylor’s Lecomte had a huge night with 29 and Omot add 23 off the bench. The Bears are now reduced to spoilers the rest of the way.

Wednesday:

Texas 71, #10 Texas Tech 73

Texas Tech did it to Texas once again, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat as the Horns blew a sure road win, not once but twice, falling in OT on Keenan Evans’ buzzer beater. It was an ugly game that featured 42 fouls and 29 turnovers, and neither shot it well from anywhere on the court - Tech was just 22-52 from the field, 5-17 from three, and 24-37 from the FT line while Texas shot just 37% from the field and behind the arc and went just 13-26 from the charity stripe - but none of that seemed to bother Evans who went off for 38 points, four boards, and three assists. The Horns have been riding an emotional rollercoaster since Andrew Jones’ cancer diagnosis, but the game to game grind of conference play, combined with being short-handed, makes it tough to string together wins.

#15 West Virginia 77, Iowa State 93

What.

This was the weirdest score of the week, and the Eers got torched at Hilton by, what is by all accounts, a pretty bad Iowa State team. Maybe it’s the Kentucky hangover, maybe it’s Hilton Magic, or maybe WVU is not the world-beater we all thought they could be. Big games by Wigginton and Jackson buoyed a balanced Cyclones attack, while WVU relied on three guys to provide about 2/3rds of their scoring.

Saturday:

#10 Texas Tech 83, TCU 71

I don’t want to talk about it.

Oklahoma State 84, #7 Kansas 79

How is it possible that we are just barely into February and Kansas has already lost three times at home?! The Jayhawks’ loss, combined with Tech’s win, put the two teams atop the Big 12 standings, with the Red Raiders currently holding the tie breaker. KU has another shot at Texas Tech in Lubbock, but Bill Self has got to be worried about the state of his team. The Cowboys are a pretty good Big 12 team, but not of the ilk of what it normally takes to win in the Phogg. During their impossibly long title streak, KU just doesn’t lose these type of games. Well, they are losing them now, and it won’t get much easier in the coming weeks.

#12 Oklahoma 74, Texas 79

College Game Day traveled to Austin, and it was a good showing for Longhorn fans and players, as they upended Trae Young and Oklahoma at the Erwin Center. Young, whose state line was a constant fixture on the broadcast, had just 19 points on 7-22 shooting with five turnovers, though he did drop 14 assists. Texas, meanwhile, rode Coleman and Roach, who combined for 41 of their 79 points. The win keeps Texas on the bubble for a dance bid, though their short bench (just seven players played, and one had just eight minutes) might eventually be too much to overcome.

Kansas State 51, #15 West Virginia 89

You don’t want to be the team that plays WVU after an embarrassing loss, as they have a habit of taking out their ill will on you. This was just a slaughter from start to finish, and while K State trailed by just nine at the half, the Eers were always really in control. WVU dropped a 50 spot in the second stanza, led by their defense and a balanced scoring attack speared by Konate (19/9) and Bolden (13). The good news, if there is any, for the Cats is that they had 14 guys see game action, meaning pretty much everyone with a uni got some run. Yay.

Iowa State 67, Baylor 81

I don’t understand either of these teams. Iowa State blasts WVU at home and then goes on the road and gets absolutely run by a Baylor team coming off an emotionally draining loss. Baylor, who had a four game losing streak coming into the day, trailed by two at the half but came out hot in the second frame, led by Terry Maston’s 23 and a double double by Jo Lual-Acuil. The Bears held ISU to just 34% shooting and a 9-20 day fdrom behind the arc, while forcing 14 turnovers and out-rebounding the Clones 43-35. I don’t think either of these teams are very good, but it’s a testament to the depth of the conference that both can beat anybody at any time.