No. 8 Texas Tech looks for elusive road win over Texas
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No. 8 Texas Tech is off to a fine start, but finding a way to beat Texas when the teams meet Saturday in Austin still might prove a tough challenge.
The Red Raiders have lost 22 consecutive games in Austin, dating back to Feb. 24, 1996. Getting past the unpredictable Longhorns would add fuel to the fire that Texas Tech has one of its best teams ever.
Texas Tech (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) heads to the state capital following a 66-59 home win over No. 23 Oklahoma on Tuesday. The Red Raiders trailed for the first time this season in conference play but rallied to tie the contest at 51 before finishing off the Sooners with a 15-8 run over the final eight minutes.
Jarrett Culver recorded his first double-double of the season and third of his career, producing 23 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Red Raiders.
Davide Moretti added 12 points after recording a career-high 19 points against Kansas State on Jan. 5 in Tech's previous contest. Moretti is now averaging 14.3 points per game through three conference games with seven 3-pointers to lead the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech has held all three conference opponents under 60 points and has not allowed any of its opponents to score more than 69 this season. The Red Raiders' nation-leading defense held Oklahoma to 32.3 shooting and has limited opponents to just 33.3 percent shooting through 15 games.
"We made it an urgency to pick and choose the times that we wanted to help to defend the three," Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said about the win over Oklahoma. "When you hold a Big 12 team to thirty-something percent shooting, you have to give our defense some credit."
Texas Tech also leads the Big 12 with a 19.5 scoring margin and by holding opponents to 53.5 points per game.
"It's an 18-round fight, and we're excited to win round three against a team that we have nothing but respect for," Beard said after the victory over the Sooners. "I'm just really happy for our players because we just beat a really good team."
The Longhorns (10-5, 2-1) head home after a 61-58 loss at Oklahoma State on Tuesday in which they scored a season-low 22 points in the first half but still drew to within a point of the lead in the final seconds.
Kewin Roach II led Texas with 18 points in the defeat, with Jaxson Hayes scoring 13. The Longhorns were looking to start the conference season with wins in their first three games for the first time since 2010-11, when Texas won its first 11 Big 12 contests.
Instead of building a little more momentum for the Big 12 gauntlet ahead, Texas fell to the league's only team with an overall losing record.
"Whether the guys want to own up to it or not, myself included, I think we were a little satisfied being 2-0 to start conference," Texas forward Dylan Osetkowski said. "We came in sluggish, not really respecting Oklahoma State like we should have."
Texas has been enigmatic this season, beating the likes of Arkansas, Purdue and North Carolina but losing to Radford, VCU and Providence. Longhorns coach Shaka Smart can't seem to get his hands around his team or figure out why it's so inconsistent.
"If our guys did take Oklahoma State lightly, then that's really, really disappointing," Smart said. "We've talked about for three days how dangerous they are, how hungry they are, how hard they are going to play and really emphasized we need to be the best version of us regardless of who we were playing. Obviously in the first half, we were nowhere near that."
The Longhorns' next four games, and six of the next seven, are against team ranked in the Top 25.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 10, 2019