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Texas Tech can’t have lapses against No. 3 Kansas

Posted: February 10, 2017 - 7:22pm

In their last three losses, the Red Raiders were outscored by an average of three points.

Texas Tech cut Baylor’s lead to two with 38 seconds to play and led Texas and TCU by one with 2:58 and 1:33 left, respectively.

The Red Raiders can’t afford any lapses on any end at any time this weekend as they host No. 3 Kansas at 1 p.m. Saturday.

It’s a prime opportunity for Texas Tech to show its toughness in response to a bad break.

And as Tech coach Chris Beard has mentioned, this doesn’t mean the Red Raiders aren’t playing the last three to four minutes well against these opponents.

The defining moment has come earlier.

In Waco, Texas Tech was down by 12 less than 10 minutes into the game. From that point on, Tech outscored Baylor 52-44.

In the later two games, the Red Raiders unraveled as the first half came to a close. Texas Tech led Texas by eight with 6:16 to play.

But the final 13 possessions of the half, Tech committed eight turnovers, missed the front end of a pair of one-and-ones and went 2-for-5 from the floor, while Texas had only two turnovers to go with a 3-for-6 mark from the free-throw line and a 4-for-12 mark from the floor.

The Longhorns led by two at the half en route to a 62-58 victory.

In Fort Worth, the Red Raiders were up by nine with 3:13 to go in the first period.That’s when the turnover bug bit. Tech had three miscues and went 0-for-2 from the floor, while the Horned Frogs had only one turnover and made their last three shots. TCU led by one at the half, and that margin stayed true at the end of the game.

Looking back at the film multiple times, Beard has seen untimely turnovers.

“Some of them have not been because of a lack of effort or bad plays. They’re just bad breaks,” Beard said. “Specifically against TCU we executed a zone set perfectly. Anthony (Livingston) gets the ball around the basket and is called for travelling. I’ve watched it 65 times. I don’t think it’s a travel, but that’s part of basketball. When we have something bad like that, self inflicted or just part of the game, we have to be tough enough to make a play on the other end and we haven’t shown that.”

Things have fallen apart when a break goes against the Red Raiders on the defensive end — like when UT’s Jacob Young hit a 3-pointer to cut Tech’s lead to one with a minute left in the first half — and Tech can’t score on the other end — when Keenan Evans missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Or something happens on the offensive end — like when Livingston pulled down an offensive rebound but was called for a travel at TCU and Tech couldn’t answer with a stop— J.D. Miller drained a 3-pointer to cut Tech’s lead to two with less than a minute left.

“We’ve addressed it. We’ve worked on it,” Beard said. “We had a segment in practice yesterday where we played two minute games. Hopefully there will be some improvement.”

And with seven regular season games left to play, the Red Raiders have to fight back if they want to make the NCAA Tournament.

“We’re playing in the best league in college basketball,” Beard said. “There’s a lot of season left. We have a day-to-day process we believe in. We have to keep putting ourselves back in these positions where we’re in one to two possession games. Then eventually it’ll swing our way. More than anything we just have to stay the course.”

Projected starters

TEXAS TECH (16-8, 4-7)

Name Position Height Points Rebounds Assists

Keenan Evans G 6-3 14.4 2.6 3.1

Niem Stevenson G 6-5 7.2 3.0 1.5

Justin Gray G 6-6 8.5 5.3 1.9

Zach Smith F 6-8 13.0 7.8 1.4

Anthony Livingston F 6-8 11.5 3.8 1.3

KANSAS (21-3, 9-2)

Name Position Height Points Rebounds Assists

Frank Mason III G 5-11 20.4 4.3 5.1

Devonte’ Graham G 6-2 13.3 3.2 4.4

Svi Mykhailiuk G 6-8 10.8 3.3 1.6

Josh Jackson G 6-8 16.0 6.8 3.0

Landen Lucas C 6-10 7.4 8.4 0.9

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