Lubbock, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The 20th-ranked Baylor Bears hit the road for the second straight game, and third time in the last four when they take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Big 12 Conference action at United Supermarkets Arena on Tuesday.
Baylor is hoping to put the brakes on a two-game slide, as the team has suffered defeats to both Oklahoma State (74-65) and Kansas (74-64) in the last week. Still, the Bears (18-7) find themselves with one of the best overall records of any team in the Big 12, although their 6-6 league ledger has them well off the pace set by first-place Kansas.
Texas Tech is in the Big 12 basement, as the team owns a 12-14 overall mark and is just 2-11 in conference. The Red Raiders have lost three in a row, five of their last six, and 12 of their last 14 games. The most recent setback occurred on Valentine's Day at Texas, as they put forth another dismal offensive effort in a 56-41 setback. Tech is 0-10 outside of Lubbock this season, but is 12-4 in front of the hometown faithful.
Texas Tech leads the all-time series, 76-52, which includes a 48-48 mark in Lubbock. The teams split a pair of meetings last season, with each winning on its home court.
Rico Gathers scored 18 points, Kenny Chery had 17 and Taurean Prince 14 for Baylor, but those efforts went for naught as the Bears dropped a 10-point decision at Kansas over the weekend. BU, which held a 33-27 lead at the break, shot just 37.5 percent from the field, which included an 8-of-23 showing from 3-point range. The Bears, who were credited with only eight field goals in the second half, did manage to convert 14-of-18 free throws in the game, but they watched as the Jayhawks went 24-of-29 at the stripe while knocking down 46.8 percent of their total shots.
Ironically, Prince (12.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Chery (11.9 ppg, 2.8 apg) and Gathers (11.5 ppg, 12.4 rpg) are the three players currently averaging double digits in the scoring column for a Baylor squad that puts up 69.8 ppg thanks in part to its 37 percent performance out on the perimeter. With Gathers leading the way, the Bears control the glass like few others in the country, laying claim to a +9.7 rebounding margin. As a result of that, and the fact they shoot just 39.5 percent from the floor, 29.9 percent from downtown, opponents are generating a meager 59.9 ppg.
It may sound strange, but the 41 points scored by Texas Tech in its recent loss to Texas was actually the third-lowest effort of the season for Tubby Smith's squad. As a result, the Red Raiders average a league-low 60.8 ppg, and they are the only team in the Big 12 with a negative scoring margin (-2.7). Not surprisingly, Tech is the worst shooting team in the league (.395), and it also ranks last in assists (10.54 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.75). Devaugntah Williams (10.3 ppg) is the only player averaging double figures in scoring for the season.
Robert Turner tallied 10 points as the lone double-digit scorer in the loss to the Longhorns, but he went just 4-of-13 from the floor in doing so. Texas Tech made good on only a third of its field goal attempts in the contest, missing the mark on 18 of its 25 3-point tries in the process. The Red Raiders went just 2-of-3 at the foul line, and they allowed Texas to knock down 44.4 percent of its total shots. Other keys in the game included UT outscoring TTU in the paint, 24-14, as well as in bench points, 21-4.