Waco, TX – Lone Star State rivals square off in Waco tonight, as the Baylor Bears play host to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a matchup of two teams at opposite ends of the Big 12 Conference standings.
Texas Tech is in the midst of a brutal season as it is the only team in the Big 12 yet to register double-digit wins overall, and its 1-15 league ledger has it all alone in last place. The Red Raiders have lost four in a row and 15 of their last 16 dating back to the start of the New Year. They fought hard at home against Texas on Saturday, but ultimately fell in overtime, 71-67.
As for Baylor, it is enjoying one of its finest seasons ever, as the team comes in with a 24-5 overall record, which was highlighted by a 17-game win streak to begin the season. BU is currently tied for third place in the Big 12 with Iowa State, both sporting an 11-5 record, but has gone a combined 0-4 against the two powerhouses leading the conference -- Kansas and Missouri. After going through their toughest stretch of the season of losing three of four, the Bears have rebounded to win back-to-back bouts, the most recent of which was a 70-60 decision over Oklahoma on Saturday.
Texas Tech has a comfortable 75-48 lead in the all-time series with Baylor, but the Bears have won four of the last five meetings, including a 73-60 verdict in Lubbock on January 7.
Not only did Texas Tech fight to the end against Texas on Saturday, it actually appeared as if it was going to hold on for the win. After battling back from a 14-point, second-half deficit to force overtime, the Red Raiders were up by a 67-61 count with just over two minutes to play in the extra frame, but the Longhorns scored the game's last 10 points to capture the victory. Jaye Crockett scored 16 points in the loss to pace the squad, while Javarez Willis and Jordan Tolbert netted 15 points apiece. On the season, Texas Tech has the Big 12's most inept offense, averaging a mere 59.9 ppg on 43.2 percent shooting from the field. Tolbert is one of the only positive contributors, as he leads the team in scoring (11.3 ppg), rebounding (5.8 rpg) and field goal percentage (.523). Ty Nurse nets just 8.8 ppg but he leads the conference in free-throw percentage (.917). Texas Tech also coughs up the ball far too often, sporting a turnover margin of -4.32, which is last in the conference by a wide margin.
Baylor has found success this year by excelling at both ends of the floor, averaging 74.4 ppg while yielding 63.6 ppg, leading to a scoring margin of +10.9 (third-best in the conference). Though the Bears were down at the half against Oklahoma on Saturday and shot just 38.9 percent from the field in the game, they were able to ride a second-half surge to pull off the win. Pierre Jackson (18 points) and Brady Heslip (16 points) led the squad to victory, with each hitting four three-pointers, helping their Big 12-best three-point field goal percentage of .399. The Bears possess a balanced attack, as any a number of guys are capable of taking over a game on any given night. Perry Jones III (13.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg), Quincy Acy (12.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg) and Quincy Miller (12 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are a potent trio in the paint, helping BU to the league's third-best rebounding margin (+5.0). Jackson adds 12.9 ppg to the mix and is also one of the league's top distributors (5.8 apg).