The demons that have haunted Texas Tech all season long wreaked havoc at the worst possible time on Saturday.
Tech led by six points with a little more than two minutes left in overtime against Texas at United Spirit Arena, but four straight turnovers — including two crippling miscues with less than 15 seconds left — doomed the Red Raiders in a 71-67 loss.
This one stung.
“We gave it away,” Tech forward Jaye Crockett said. “We worked so hard and we just didn’t finish.”
It has been a while since the Texas Tech men's basketball team earned a win over Texas.
So long, in fact, that nobody on this Red Raider team has been part of a victory against the Longhorns. The last time Tech beat its in-state rival was an 83-80 victory in Lubbock on March 1, 2008, the season before senior forward Robert Lewandowski arrived in Lubbock.
That's seven in a row in the series for the Longhorns -- the latest a 74-57 triumph on Feb. 4 -- who have won 44 out of the last 55 games in the series dating back to the 1988-89 season.
Texas Tech forward Jaye Crockett didn't realize how long his team had gone without a field goal in the second half against Iowa State on Wednesday until coach Billy Gillispie made his team aware of the cringe-worthy number in the locker room.
Seven minutes, fifty-eight seconds.
“That's a huge problem,” Crockett said. “It's something that we need to fix.”
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg had a feeling well before the opening tip on Wednesday night that his team was in for a different kind of challenge against Texas Tech than it had faced just one month earlier.
“Just watching them warming up, it was full speed, game speed,” Hoiberg said. “They play hard, man. I knew Billy (Gillispie) would have them ready to go.”
In other words, Hoiberg said, this was a far different Red Raider team than the one his Cyclones dispatched in Lubbock on Jan. 21.
Texas Tech held its ground time and time again on Wednesday night against Iowa State and its rowdy fan base, but the Red Raiders couldn’t overcome their own second-half shortcomings in a 72-54 loss inside Hilton Coliseum.
The Red Raiders fought off several Iowa State runs to open the second half and cut an eight-point deficit to three with seven minutes left, appearing to have weathered the storm as they attempted to earn their first Big 12 Conference road win of the season.
Even one of Texas Tech’s apparent bright spots in its 83-50 loss to Kansas on Saturday came with a caveat.
The Red Raiders made 100 percent of their free throws at rowdy Allen Fieldhouse. Problem was, they only attempted eight. Kansas, meanwhile, made more than twice that many, converting 20 of 28 attempts.
“We only shot eight foul shots, and that’s not enough,” Tech coach Billy Gillispie said after the game.
The game was still a week away, but that didn’t keep the question from making its way to Kansas coach Bill Self.
The Jayhawks had just finished dispatching Texas Tech at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday night when a reporter asked Self to discuss the game college basketball fans have been eyeing for three weeks.
“Is it too soon to look ahead to Missouri?” the reporter asked.
With an All-American forward (Thomas Robinson) and a rapidly improving 7-foot center (Jeff Withey) comprising the Kansas front line, the Jayhawks have a good chance to control the glass in most games.
Kansas did just that against Tech, outrebounding the Red Raiders 32-21, including a 13-7 edge.
Tech coach Billy Gillispie said the challenge posed to his undersized team on the glass against teams like Kansas has been hard to overcome.