Big 12 men’s basketball: Texas Tech makes birdie against Baylor hold up at TCU

Posted Monday, Jan. 20, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Big 12 Players of the Week

Player of the Week

G Naadir Tharpe, Kansas: The junior averaged 22 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in wins against Iowa State and Oklahoma State. He made 14 of 17 shots from the field. He scored a career-high 23 points against ISU and was 6-of-8 from 3-point range and made 9 of 10 free throws for the week.

Newcomer of the Week

C Joel Embiid, Kansas: The 7-foot freshman averaged 14.5 points and 10 rebounds in the Jayhawks’ two wins last week. He also had a combined 13 blocks, including eight against Oklahoma State, a single-game record for a Kansas freshman and the most in a Big 12 Conference game for a freshman.

Key stat

.500 3-point field-goal percentage (53 of 106) for Oklahoma State’s Phil Forte (from Flower Mound Marcus), which leads the nation for players averaging a minimum of 2.5 made per game.

Quotable

“I think it’s the best league we’ve ever had in terms of quality teams. Without question this is by far the best league in my 16 years and it’s really not even close.” — Texas coach Rick Barnes on six Big 12 teams being ranked in the AP Top 25

“I was a great flopper, back in my day. I think players will get reputations. In our league, I think they’re getting better at recognizing a flop.” — Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg when asked about player’s flopping

“I don’t really like them. This time of a year, I’d rather be playing. We’ll try to use this week to make our team a better basketball team.”

— Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford on the team’s bye week

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Just a few days removed from an upset of Baylor, which prompted a court-rushing mob scene at United Spirit Arena, Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith knew a letdown on the road against TCU was a possibility.

So before the game he used a golf analogy to put the situation in perspective.

“If you have a birdie and you bogey the next hole you haven’t really validated the birdie,” Smith told his team. “So you have to par the next hole. It’s like playing golf, fellas. If you don’t play well today and build on what we did against Baylor then it’s all for naught.”

The Red Raiders (10-8, 2-3 Big 12) held on for a 60-49 win, giving them their first consecutive league wins since February 2011.

“It’s really big,” said Tech guard Dusty Hannahs, who led the team with 13 points. “It helps the win not look like it was just a coincidence. [The pregame golf speech] was serious, because you come out and lose this game, it doesn’t validate the [Baylor] win, it’s just in the past.”

Smith said it’s human nature to let your guard down after a big win, but was impressed with “our kids’ toughness. They really toughed it out. We knew it would be a game [against TCU].

“That happens after big wins. Prosperity has a way of kind of making you feel better than you probably should,” he said. “We probably weren’t as good as we thought we were against Baylor. So it’s hard. They’re trying to focus, but it’s hard to do.”

Tech on Wednesday plays at West Virginia (10-8, 2-3), which has lost three consecutive games since opening league play with wins at TCU and Texas Tech. The Red Raiders led late in the first meeting before losing in overtime.

Baylor blues

Baylor took a two-game losing streak into No. 8 Kansas on Monday night, not exactly the ideal place to snap out of it. After being outplayed and upset at Texas Tech, the Bears (13-4, 1-3) lost a close one at home to Oklahoma. They’ve dropped to No. 24 from No. 12 in The Associated Press Top 25.

“Yeah, but they’re good,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “They’ve got two first-rounders playing on the front line. The guy off the bench, [Rico] Gathers, may be the best offensive rebounder around. I think they’re still very talented. They’ve had a rough week, but we’ve had rough weeks, too. Their schedule hasn’t been easy, either, so they’re a very capable team. Definitely a team that’s still involved in the league race.”

Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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