Texas guard Kerwin Roach Jr. wasn’t supposed to play Wednesday. He really wasn’t even expected back this week at all. That fractured left hand injury was supposed to sideline him another week.
But Roach, who could barely dribble in the second half against Baylor, came roaring back to the court on Wednesday against No. 8 Texas Tech. He set a new season high with 20 points and threw down a vicious dunk with 2:05 remaining to cap a 67-58 upset win.
Texas Tech (15-3, 4-2 Big 12) has not won in Austin since Feb. 24, 1996. The vast majority of players on both rosters Wednesday had not been born yet. The Longhorns (12-6, 3-3) are now even in Big 12 play. It was UT’s first win over a top-10 opponent since Feb. 2016.
Roach was scheduled to have another X-ray this week on his fractured hand, which kept him out of the last two games. But he was all over the place against the Red Raiders. Roach, a career 62.4 percent shooter at the free throw line, even went 8 for 9 at the stripe. He also played sensational defense on Tech’s Keenan Evans, who had an off night with just 11 points.
Texas’ big men Mo Bamba and Dylan Osetkowski stepped up their intensity, too. Bamba had 15 points, including a windmill dunk and reverse tip-in in the first half. Osetkowski had 12 points and five rebounds.
Texas players clearly got the message after the Oklahoma State loss. When the Horns go to the rim, good things happen. That’s how they knocked off Iowa State and Baylor. That’s what happened in first half against Tech, too.
Eric Davis Jr. and Matt Coleman both got buckets by driving. And it opened up outside shots, too. Roach and Osetkowski both swished 3-pointers as the defense sagged in the lane. Texas shot 46 percent in the first half overall and took a 29-24 lead by the break.
The Longhorns had a 13-point lead with 12:36 remaining after Osetkowski threw down a two-handed dunk and did a chin-up. He converted the three-point play and Texas led 45-32. But that lead slowed drifted away after a series of careless turnovers.
The Raiders went on an 11-2 run and closed it to a four-point game. An impressive crowd started growing restless. Texas coughed up a 12-point lead on Saturday against Oklahoma State and loss.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Tech shot 46.5 percent from the floor in its first five conference games. The Red Raiders were 9 for 23 (39.1 percent) in the first half against Texas’ long-armed defense, led by Bamba. The 6-foot-11 freshman blocked Tech’s Norense Odiase on back-to-back shot attempts in the paint. The Raiders were content to sit outside, going 4 for 13 for 3-point range in the first half.
This seems like a dangerous time to head to Morgantown, W.Va. Coach Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers have suffered back-to-back losses against Kansas and Texas Tech. West Virginia will see this as a must-win game, especially with TCU coming next for Huggins’ crew and then a non-conference game against Kentucky. The Longhorns and Mountaineers tipoff at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email email@example.com.