Hoops: Horns Fall Short At No. 25 Texas Tech

Texas saw a one-point lead at Texas Tech evaporate by going scoreless during a critical three-minute stretch late in the game as seventh-year coach Rick Barnes lost Tuesday for the first time in Lubbock, 69-65.

With the loss, Texas is now 13-2 against the Red Raiders during the Barnes' era but, more importantly, the Horns fell to just one game over .500 at 7-6 in Big 12 play, and 18-8 overall. What does the setback mean for Texas' NCAA Tournament chances? Nothing, if...

The narrow road loss means nothing if the Horns beat Missouri at home next Saturday, guaranteeing depleted Texas no worse than a .500 record in the rugged Big 12 Conference. A win in Lubbock would have likely punched the ticket for the Longhorns' seventh straight trip to the Big Dance. For now, call it a 'quality loss' in the eyes of the NCAA selection committee.

Both Bobby Knight and Barnes' teams are renowned for tenacious defense and disciplined shot selection, as was evident when the league's top two scoring offenses met for the second time this season. The Horns took an 80-73 decision over Tech last month in Austin.

Both Texas G Daniel Gibson and Tech G Jarrius Jackson shared leading scorer honors with 22 points apiece. Gibson was 7-of-12 from the field, including four-of-six treys. Jackson (7-of-18 FG) paced four Red Raiders reaching double figures. Junior F Brad Buckman tallied 16 points (5-of-11 FG) for the Horns while senior C Jason Klotz added 12 points (6-og-9 FG) in a game where he never took a foul shot. Guards Sydmill Harris (groin) and Kenton Paulino (dislocated toe) are playing with pain but, along with senior Kenny Taylor, Texas' trifecta of guards not named Gibson combined for just 4-of-17 from the floor.

The Horns shot 44 percent from the field (25-of-54) while Tech was 29-of-67 (43 percent). Texas was 7-of-16 (44 percent) from beyond the arc while holding the nation's top three-point team to just 7-of-24 (29 percent) from outside of the line. In a contest where officials acted as if they'd never seen a hand check, Texas went to the charity stripe just 12 times (hitting eight) while the Red Raiders took only eight foul shots (connecting on four).

Texas took an early 4-0 lead off of Gibson's 14-foot jumper. The true freshman then came up with the steal and assist leading to Dion Dowell's slam dunk. Devonne Giles' trey cut into the Longhorn lead, 6-5. Jarrius Jackson knocked down a pair of treys against Texas' 2-3 zone to pull the Red Raiders within 14-13 before Gibson answered with his third FG in the early going.

Kenny Taylor's 12-foot jumper on the inbounds pass gave Texas a 20-15 lead. Ronald Ross answered with a jumper before Gibson knocked down a pair of foul shouts and then a three-ball from the left wing to make it 25-17, Texas. Paulino's bucket from outside the line gave Texas an 11-point lead as part of a 10-2 run.

Martin Zeno stopped the Longhorn uprising with his shot from the left corner, Tech's first FG in five minutes. But that launched a 7-0 Red Raider run, capped by Zeno's fastbreak layup to make it a 28-25 ballgame.

Then it was Brad Buckman Time. The junior answered on a dazzling dish from Gibson and then converted a traditional three-point play with 39 seconds remaining to spot Texas a 33-27 advantage. But Ross drained a trey from the right wing at the buzzer as the Horns took a 33-30 lead into the locker room.

Ross' floater gave Tech its first lead, 38-37, with little more than four minutes eclipsed from the second period. The teams traded buckets before Jarrius Jackson drained a trey to make it 43-39, Tech. Gibson's shot from the hip followed by a Klotz jumper knotted the affair at 43. Kenny Taylor's trey gave Texas a 48-47 lead with little more than 11 minutes left. Ross answered with a three-ball before Gibson knocked down an NBA trey to make it 51-50, Texas. Ross converted a UT turnover into a 54-53 Red Raider lead.

A pair of Gibson FTs pulled Texas to within one before Buckman's strong post-up from Paulino gave Texas a 59-58 lead with just under four minutes remaining. But Texas was shutout for a three-minute stretch as Tech launched a 7-0 run. The dagger was Jarrius Jackson's wide-open trey on the inbounds pass with just one second left on the shot clock. That gave the home team a 65-59 advantage with one minute remaining. Gibson drained a three-pointer to make it 65-62. At this point, all Texas could do was foul the Big 12's top FT shooting team. Taylor's trey completed the scoring at 69-65.

Now, Texas' home schedule dwindles down to a pair. The Horns complete their home slate with Saturday's noon tip-off against Missouri followed by an ESPN Erwin Center 'Big Monday' matchup against Oklahoma, 8 p.m. (CST) before traveling to Stillwater on the final Saturday of the season.

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