Waco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The 14th-ranked Baylor Bears and Texas Tech Red Raiders close out their 2014-15 regular seasons on Friday evening, in a Big 12 showdown at the Ferrell Center.
Scott Drew's Bears are still in the hunt for better seeding in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament but did themselves no favors with Monday's 61-59 overtime loss to Texas. The setback ended a four-game win streak for Baylor and dropped the team into a tie for fourth-place with West Virginia at 10-7. The Bears have had great success at home this season, sporting a 15-2 record at the Ferrell Center.
Tubby Smith's Red Raiders have really struggled this season, especially in conference play where they are a Big 12 worst 3-14. One of those victories came this past weekend however, as TTU ended a six-game losing streak with a 63-62 triumph over Oklahoma State. The road has not been kind to the Red Raiders, who are still seeking their first win outside of Lubbock this season.
This marks the 130th all-time meeting between these two Lone Star State rivals, with TTU holding a 76-53 advantage. However, Baylor has won six of the last seven meetings and is seeking the regular-season sweep after earning a 54-49 victory at United Supermarkets Arena on Feb. 17.
The Red Raiders took a 14-point lead into halftime against Oklahoma State and had to hold on in the second half to earn the one-point victory and bring an end to a terrible skid. Toddrick Gotcher hit four 3-pointers and led four TTU players in double figures with 17 points. Norense Odiase added 14 points, while Robert Turner and Devaugntah Williams checked in with 11 points each in the victory.
One look at the overall numbers and it is easy to see why Texas Tech has struggled to compete game-in and game-out in the Big 12. The Red Raiders are averaging a mere 60.7 ppg and doing so on a subpar .398 shooting. Williams is the only player on the roster averaging double figures in the scoring column at 10.1 ppg. Turner is just under double digits at 8.3 ppg, followed by Gotcher's 7.4 ppg.
Not being able to score in bunches is something that Baylor has forced opponents to deal with on a regular basis. The Bears have played stellar defense this season, limiting foes to just 59.5 ppg and holding them under 40 percent shooting (.395). In addition, Baylor boasts of a +8.9 rebounding margin. At the offensive end, it is a balanced attack for Baylor, with four players averaging double figures. Junior Taurean Prince leads the way with 13.7 ppg, thanks in part to his team-high 53 3-pointers. Fellow junior Rico Gathers is the perfect complement with his interior game, netting 11.4 ppg, while grabbing 11.8 rpg. Gathers leads the nation in rebounding. Seniors Kenny Chery and Royce O'Neale finish things off with 11.0 ppg each.
Texas took the lead with under five seconds left in overtime and Baylor's attempt to counter was blocked, as the Bears dropped a heart-breaker to Texas in Austin. The Bears had a seven-point lead at the break, but were unable to capitalize. Prince led the way in defeat with 17 points. Gathers had yet another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but the team as a whole connected on just 33.3 percent from the floor in the loss.