Back in the Top 25 for the first time in three weeks, Texas looks to keep its momentum going. Facing a slumping Texas Tech team that won’t have its coach Wednesday night could be the ideal situation for the 25th-ranked Longhorns to continue their recent surge.
Texas (18-8, 7-5 Big 12) goes for its 13th straight win at home against the Red Raiders following Saturday’s 73-68 victory over then-No. 2 Oklahoma.
The Longhorns have won three of four after dropping three in a row from Jan. 31-Feb. 7 to fall out of the rankings.
Texas took advantage of an injury to Oklahoma star Blake Griffin to snap the Sooners’ 13-game winning streak behind A.J. Abrams’ season-high tying five 3s and 23 points. After tying a season low with seven points in an 81-66 loss to Texas A&M on Feb. 16, the senior guard scored 16 consecutive points for the Longhorns on Saturday during a 6:49 stretch of the second half.
“It was a good win for us,” Abrams told the school’s official Web site. “We came out there and for the most part we executed our game plan. With Blake going out, it made us change our game plan around. At one point in the second half, we let it get away from us but we picked it up at the right time and continued to get defensive stops when we needed them.”
Abrams will look to continue his hot shooting against a Texas Tech team ranked last in the Big 12 in scoring defense at 79.1 points per game. Abrams hit three 3s and scored 11 points in a 71-49 win over the host Red Raiders on Jan. 17.
If Texas Tech (12-15, 2-10) returns to Lubbock with its first victory at Texas since a 75-58 win on Feb. 24, 1996, it will be without coach Pat Knight, who was suspended Monday for one game for his comments about the officiating of Saturday’s 79-73 loss to Texas A&M.
Knight was ejected for running out on the court in Texas Tech’s 82-69 loss to Nebraska on Jan. 31, but he was not suspended.
“I was extremely lenient in that (Nebraska) case and chose not to suspend Coach Knight,” Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said in a written statement. “The nature and extent of his comments after the Texas A&M game, and his callous attitude in light of his commitment to me to abide by the rules, require a serious penalty.”
Red Raiders assistant Stew Robinson will take over coaching duties Wednesday.
Texas Tech will try to contain surging Texas swingman Damion James, who posted his third consecutive double-double Saturday with 16 points and 10 boards.
“You could say this gives us new life,” said James, averaging 15.5 points and 10.9 rebounds in his last eight games. “We really wanted to turn this thing around.”
Texas Tech, meanwhile, hasn’t been able to do that. The Red Raiders have dropped 11 of 13 and four straight.
Texas Tech leading scorer John Roberson had 16 points against the Aggies on Saturday after scoring 16 total points in the Red Raiders’ previous two games. The sophomore guard had nine points in Texas Tech’s loss to then-No. 11 Texas on Jan. 17.