Texas Tech Rolls Past BYU in Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinals

Heartland College Sports – An Independent Big 12 Today Blog

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — No. 4 seed Texas Tech ran away from No. 5 seed BYU, 81-67, in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Center on Thursday.

Texas Tech (23-9) gets more than a day of rest before it faces either No. 1 seed Houston or No. 8 seed TCU in a semifinal game at 6 p.m. Friday.

 

BYU (23-10) now heads back to Provo to wait for its seed for the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars, ranked in the top 25 for most of the season, were comfortably in the field before the tournament began and are projected by ESPN as a No. 5 seed.

The game was further proof that no lead is safe in this tournament, though Tech prevailed.

Texas Tech turned the game into a rout for the first 30 minutes, as the Red Raiders shrugged off a five-day layoff after earning a double-bye. Tech scored the game’s first nine points, had a double-digit lead for the first time less than four minutes in and took a double-digit lead for good eight minutes into the game.

The Red Raiders dominated in two areas where BYU normally dominates — 3-point shooting and the boards. Texas Tech made nine 3-pointers, shot 47% from distance and outrebounded BYU by eight.

Yet, as comfortable as things looked for Texas Tech, BYU made a big run late in the second half. The Cougars cut the Red Raider lead to seven points with 5:04 left, thanks to a 17-2 run, capped by Jaxson Robinson’s 3-pointer and Richie Saunders’ two free throws. During that run Texas Tech turned the ball over six times.

But, the Red Raiders snuffed out the run on back-to-back 3-pointers by Joe Toussaint and Darrion Williams to push Tech’s lead back to 13 points with 3:49 left. The game was never in doubt after that.

Isaacs led Texas Tech with 22 points. Four other Red Raiders were in double figures — Chance McMillian with 17, Kerwin Walton with 12, Robert Jennings with 10 and Toussaint with 10.

Jaxson Robinson led BYU with 18, as the Cougars struggled with their shot the entire game. BYU finished the game shooting 20% from the arc and 37% overall. Fousseyni Traore scored 13 and Saunders added 12 points.

 

Texas Tech thoroughly dominated BYU in the first 20 minutes, as they took a 42-23 lead into the locker room.

The Red Raiders shot 52% in the first 20 minutes, including 7-of-11 from the 3-point line — normally BYU’s forte — and outrebounded the Cougars, 26-17, including a 20-10 edge on the defensive glass. The only think Tech did wrong in the first half was finish with more turnovers (eight) than BYU (six).

The rebounding edge was startling as BYU had the second-best rebounding margin in the Big 12.

The Red Raiders briefly lost Williams to an injury but returned shortly after going to the locker room. At the time Tech was up 22-11. They were in the midst of a run in which they scored 12 of the game’s 13 points and took a 37-15 lead with 4:48 left.

The Cougars, meanwhile, shot just 21%, including an awful 3-of-18 from the 3-point line. At one point the Cougars missed 15 of 16 field goals and fell behind by as much as 23 points. BYU’s field goal percentage in the first half was a season-low and the 19-point deficit was a season-high.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.