No. 12 Baylor Stumbles Against Texas Tech

Baylor (13-3, 1-2) played their worst game of the season Wednesday night in an 82-72 loss to Texas Tech (9-8, 1-3) in Lubbock.

Baylor's streak of dominance in the state of Texas came to a screeching halt with a loss to Texas Tech. The Bears had won 19 out of their last 20 games against in-state opponents heading into the matchup, but unranked Texas Tech (9-8, 1-3) was able to steal one from No. 12 Baylor (13-3, 1-2) in Lubbock.

The Bears came out of the gates sluggish on both ends of the floor as they took the court at United Spirit Arena. Baylor fell to a quick 17-8 deficit after Texas Tech hit their first five shots and eight out of their first 11. Baylor found themselves unable to score for most of the night.

The Bears mustered only seven made field goals in the first half of play and fell to a 21-point deficit heading into halftime. The Bears failed to make a basket for the final 4:24 of the half and allowed an 11-0 run to Tech.

The ball movement was arguably the worst we have seen from Baylor in the first half. The Bears struggled to make only seven field goals in the half. Out of those seven, none were assisted. The Bears finished with a season-low six assists.

The Bears turned things on in the second half behind a strong effort from junior point guard Kenny Chery and sophomore forward Taurean Prince. Chery scored 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting in the second half alone. Prince added 13 points in the half.

Baylor trailed by 21 at the break, but went on a run to cut the lead down to 11 with 6:35 left in the game. The Bears fought hard to get the lead down to as low as 9 in the final frame, but they were unable to get over the hump thanks to the giant cushion Tech had built themselves.

Sophomore center Isaiah Austin played arguably his worst game as a Baylor Bear in the loss. Austin missed all six of his shot attempts and finished with four assists and two rebounds in 22 minutes. Frontcourt-mate senior forward Cory Jefferson struggled as well with eight points and only three rebounds in 26 minutes.

Both Austin and Jefferson were killed on the inside throughout the game. The Red Raiders torched Baylor for 38 points in the paint. Baylor was outscored by 19 points when Jefferson was on the floor and nine when Austin was on the floor.

Tech forward Jaye Crockett torched Austin and Jefferson in the first half for 14 points on 6-for-9 from the field and 2-for-2 from three. He finished the game with 19 points. Tech forward Dejan Kravic posted 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Baylor's interior defense struggled mightily all night long. Texas Tech shot 62.1 percent from the field in the first half and 57.1 percent for the game. They also shot 45.5 percent from the three-point line. ¬¬For only the second time all season, Baylor was outrebounded, this time 35-29. The effort seemed to be lacking all night long for Baylor.

The win was the first for Tech against a ranked opponent since 2010. The loss was the first for Baylor against an unranked team since losing against Texas in Austin back on March 4, 2013. The Bears had won 17 straight against unranked teams in that span.

The Big 12 has already seen its fair share of upsets and unnaturally close games in the early going and this game will add to that list. There is a real chance that Baylor could finish the Big 12 schedule at .500 with the strength of the conference this season. If Baylor wants to ensure themselves an NCAA Tournament berth, they need to win games like this one.

You are allowed to slip up once, maybe twice in college basketball. With the upset loss to Tech, the margin for error from here on out becomes that much smaller.

No. 12 Baylor basketball will return at 1 p.m. on Saturday night against Oklahoma University at the Ferrell Center. The game will be a "Blackout" in order to honor the football team's 2013 Big 12 Championship.

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