Top Takeaways From Tuesday (Feb. 27 2024)

Heartland College Sports – An Independent Big 12 Today Blog

Here are three takeaways from Big 12 Conference men’s basketball on Tuesday, as three important games were on the schedule.

So what happened? Houston maintained its top spot in the conference with a win over Cincinnati 67-59, while Kansas was stunned at home by BYU 76-68 and then Texas manhandled Texas Tech 81-69.

Here are three thoughts on the night’s action.

 

Houston, We Don’t Have a Problem

The Houston Cougars held off Cincinnati for a 67-59 win to maintain their top spot in the Big 12 standings. For Cincinnati, a win would have been a huge boost to their NCAA Tournament resume, as the Bearcats are on the outside looking in on March Madness.

After only scoring 17 points in the first half, Cincinnati exploded for 42 in the second half, but the problem was that Houston kept pace with 41 of their own. Cincinnati trailed by as many as 17 in the second half, and cut the lead down to six with one minute left, but the Bearcats never got closer than that.

With the win, Houston’s lead is up to 1.5 games over idle Iowa State. The Cyclones will need to beat Oklahoma on Wednesday night to get the lead back down to one game.

But Houston has now won six in a row since its loss at Kansas and travel to play OU and UCF their next two games, before wrapping the regular season against… Kansas, on Saturday, March 9th.

 

BYU Pulls Off the Upset

The BYU Cougars went to Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since 1971 and beat Kansas for the first time since 1960 with an 76-68 win over the Jayhawks. Kansas was in control for most the game, leading by as many as 12 points in the second half.

But BYU came roaring back, led by their three point shooting, going 7-15 in the second half from deep, to snap KU’s 19-game home winning streak. Kansas had won 71 straight games when leading at home at halftime before Tuesday night’s second half debacle.

After BYU coach Mark Pope got hit with a technical foul with under 8 minutes left, it looked like KU might run away with it. The Jayhawks went up 56-50 before the BYU comeback began. BYU hit its final four three pointers of the night in the final five minutes of the game, including two from Dallin Hall, one from Trevin Knell and another from Noah Watterman.

It was a program-defining win for BYU, while Kansas is just not the same team without Kevin McCullar Jr., who missed his fifth game of the season. Kansas is now three games back of Houston with three to play in the conference.

 

A Dud In Lubbock

Texas Tech fans were lining up for days in tents to welcome Texas into Lubbock for the last time as foes in the Big 12. And it was one big disaster for the Red Raiders.

This game was seemingly over before it even started as Texas jumped out to a 17-6 lead and never looked back on its way to a dominant 81-69 win over the Red Raiders. The Longhorns needed a solid win like that to solidify their slot in the NCAA Tournament, but then there’s Texas Tech, who has suddenly lost three of their last four games.

Pop Isaacs’ field goal percentage in every game this month look like this: 26%, 33%, 15%, 11%, 18%, 36%, 25% and then 28% last night, as he finished 5-18, including 2-8 from 3P with 17 points.

Then there’s was the drama: Midway through the second half Texas’ Brock Cunningham delivered a hard check to Darrion Williams, knocking the Red Raiders player out of bounds. While officials were reviewing the play, objects including water bottles were thrown onto the floor and security could be seen escorting a few fans out of the arena.

Cunningham was ejected with a flagrant-two foul and Texas Tech was given an administrative technical for the fans’ behavior. That announcement resulted in more objects thrown and Texas Tech coach Grant McCasland took the microphone to beg the crowd to stop.

In what was likely the last time we see these two teams play for quite some time, it was not without drama, which is what you expect when these two programs meet in almost any sport.