Tech Battles Bears Tonight

<b>Tech</b> will try and bounce back when they face streaking <b>Baylor</b> tonight at the <b>United Spirit Arena</b>.

The Raiders (16-6 overall, 5-5 Big 12 Conference) have lost two consecutive games and been hit with an injury bug, which has sidelined several key players.

Guard Nick Valdez, who was not in action during Saturday's loss to Kansas, has a sprained left ankle and will not play tonight.

It's questionable whether he will play Saturday's game at Colorado, and the worst case scenario could have him out until the Big 12 Tournament in three weeks.

Forward Kasib Powell sprained his left ankle Saturday, which caused him to miss most of the second half. Powell was limping on his ankle Monday, but said he will play tonight.

Andre Emmett, Tech's leading scorer, bruised his right knee Wednesday vs. Oklahoma State. He played against Kansas, and will play today, but said he still feels pain.

Emmett said injuries are to be expected late in the season.

"Deep in the season your body wears and tears," Emmett said. "It physically hurts, but to beat it, you have to be mentally tough."

Emmett said Tech will miss Valdez's defensive presence on the floor tonight.

"Valdez has a big impact on our defense," Emmett said. "He does a lot of things that does not show up on the stats. We are just going to have to come together."

Powell agreed.

"It is a big blow to lose him," Powell said. "He brings a lot of energy. But we have players that can step up."

Two Raiders expected to fill Valdez's vacancy are guards Nathan Doudney and Marcus Shropshire.

Doudney scored 15 points and Shropshire contributed 13 points against Kansas.

"Doudney is a superb shooter," Emmett said. "And Shropshire is quick and is also a threat from outside. I most definitely have confidence in them."

Tech is tied for fifth place in the Big 12 with six games remaining. To secure a first round bye in March's Big 12 Tournament, the Raiders must finish fourth in the conference.

Emmett said every game is important at this point of the season but stressed the Raiders must take one game at a time.

"Of course it (Big 12 Tournament) is in the back of our mind," he said. "But we have to get through step one before we get to step two."

Baylor (14-9, 4-6) is fresh off an upset win against Missouri.

Emmett said the Bears will be hungry to stay hot.

"We know those boys will be ready like they were against Missouri," he said. "We just have to stay strong physically and mentally."

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