The Longhorns (20-3, 8-0 Big 12) got off to a hot start, using an 18-2 run to take a 25-8 lead. That, coupled with the Longhorns' earlier rout of the Red Raiders in Lubbock seemed to indicate business as usual. But Texas Tech (11-13, 3-6) hung around and trailed by 16 points at halftime, 46-30, despite a hot shooting start for the Longhorns.
Texas cooled in the second half, not scoring a field goal until a Tristan Thompson dunk with 13:14 left. A three-point play by Tech's David Tairu cut the advantage to six at 53-47 with 11:20 remaining.
The Longhorns responded quickly, with super sub J'Covan Brown drilling a three-pointer. On Texas's next possession, Gary Johnson knocked in a jumper. Then Brown hit another three and Tech had to call timeout after watching the lead balloon back to 14 in less than two minutes.
"We were just down too many," said Pat Knight, Texas Tech coach. "When you play against great teams, and they get you into double-digits, it's hard."
"(Brown) has been big throughout the year," Johnson said. "That's what we need him for. We need that extra spark off the bench."
The Longhorns weren't tested again, and Johnson said they responded well to the adversity.
"We guarded; they just hit some tough shots," Johnson said. "We haven't been in a situation like that all year, when a team made a big run like that. So I think it was good for us tonight. Obviously, we matured through it, and we came out with a win."
Brown was a little more blunt, stating that "I'd rather not be in that situation."
Jordan Hamilton scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds, with 12 of his points coming in the first half. Johnson also scored 16, but failed to collect any boards. Thompson had 11 and Brown finished with 10.
Knight said the game showed Texas's mettle.
"I really look at this conference right now and you have Texas and Kansas up here and the rest of us, 10 of us, down here. Because I just don't see too many people, or anybody, beating those two teams right now the way that they're playing.
"I think (Texas is) great," Knight said. "I really think this is one of Rick's better teams."