LUBBOCK — Not once this season has Texas ever laid down and quit on coach Shaka Smart. There have been plenty of times when they could, but the Longhorns have yet to give up, something the coaching staff takes a lot of pride in.
That’s no consolation to most Texas fans, but pride is all that’s left in what’s become a lost season.
Texas hung with Texas Tech as long as possible on Wednesday before succumbing to a 67-57 defeat at United Supermarkets Arena. The Longhorns (10-20, 4-13 Big 12) have clinched their first 20-loss season since the 1983-84 campaign and now sit 0-14 in games away from the Erwin Center.
Give the UT coaching staff points for trying like heck to break the black-jersey curse. Texas trotted out the black Nike uniforms again this season but fell to 0-5 all-time in that attire.
Tech’s Keenan Evans led the way for the Red Raiders (18-12, 6-11) with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Justin Gray’s layup and foul on Jarrett Allen and subsequent free throw gave Tech a 65-53 lead with 1:45 remaining.
At one point in the second half, Shaq Cleare was visibly huffing and puffing, trying like heck just to keep up. The 290-pound big man was running the floor with abandon, getting two layups in transition on his way to a 15-point night. Cleare certainly gave it his all, going 7 for 8 from the floor but getting only three rebounds in the up-tempo affair. Jarrett Allen also had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Maybe this section should be titled “Inside the Horns’ Heads.” As in, if you know what’s going on inside all that gray matter whenever the opponent gets up by double digits, the UT coaching staff will gladly accept your call. Tech started the second half practically from starter’s blocks. The Raiders stormed to a 14-2 run capped by Zach Smith’s vicious two-handed slam. Tech had a 48-31 lead with 15:46 remaining and never looked back.
Jacob Young, who had a season-high 14 points, certainly has garnered his fair share of detractors this season. Prior to Wednesday’s game, the 6-foot-2 freshman from Houston shot 22 percent from 3-point range through the first 29 games. But he was 3 for 7 from long range in the first half and nailed a long-range bomb just before the halftime buzzer. It was his first multi-3-pointer game since the Big 12 opener against Kansas State on Dec. 30. But fans also let him have it after two air balls.
Kerwin Roach Jr. appears to be coming apart at the seams. The sophomore had 16 assists but also 14 turnovers in the last three games. Against Tech, he picked up his third foul with 8:52 left in the first half. That crimped coach Shaka Smart’s backcourt rotation. Young had to stay in far longer than Smart’s been playing him lately.
The Longhorns head into the Saturday’s regular-season finale riding a six-game losing streak. Expect no grace from Baylor. The two teams meet at 3 p.m. at the Erwin Center. Then, Texas will play in the first round game at the Big 12 tournament next Wednesday at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The final seeding is yet to be determined. Both Texas and OU are tied for ninth with matching 4-13 league records.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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