Texas has dominated its Lone Star state rivals in 11 seasons under coach Rick Barnes. To bounce back from their worst performance of the season, the Longhorns will need to win at the site of their last instate defeat.
The 11th-ranked Longhorns look to rebound from an uncharacteristic outing and avoid back-to-back Big 12 defeats for the first time in nearly two years Saturday when they visit Texas Tech in Lubbock, where they were upset late last season.
Texas (12-4, 1-1) shot a season-low 33.8 percent from the field, missed 18 of its 23 3-point attempts and never led in a 78-63 loss at sixth-ranked Oklahoma on Monday night. The Longhorns fell behind 24-8 and never recovered in their first loss by more than six points.
“I was disappointed, especially coming out in this atmosphere,” senior guard A.J. Abrams said. “I think we should have come out with more intensity. I think we did a better job after the first 10 minutes, but we have to come out with more fire power in the first few minutes.”
Abrams led Texas with 22 points, but went just 8-for-27 from the field, including 3-for-15 from 3-point range. Abrams, tied for second in Big 12 history with 332 career 3-pointers, is just 5-for-28 (17.9 percent) from beyond the arc over his last three games.
“Any time we’re forced into a situation where A.J.’s got to take 27 shots, it’s not going to be good,” said Barnes, whose team has dropped three of six after a 9-1 start.
Texas hasn’t lost consecutive conference games in a single season since Feb. 3-5, 2007, and Barnes has good reason to believe the Longhorns can avoid that fate Saturday. He’s led Texas to an 88-9 record against instate rivals, including 3-0 with an average margin of victory of 15.0 this season.
Texas’ last loss to a Lone Star rival, however, came in Lubbock. Texas had won 22 of 24 against Texas Tech, including six straight, before the Red Raiders upset the then-No. 5 Longhorns 83-80 on March 1.
Abrams was 5-for-17 overall and 4-for-12 from beyond the arc in that game, while Alan Voskuil had 18 points to lead five Texas Tech players in double figures in the Red Raiders’ first win over the Longhorns since Feb. 22, 2005.
To notch consecutive wins over Texas for the first time since 1996, Texas Tech (10-6, 0-1) will likely need a better performance than it delivered in its Big 12 opener last Saturday.
The Red Raiders were outscored 13-6 in the final 4:12 of a 73-61 loss at then-No. 23 Baylor, falling to 0-2 against Top 25 opponents this season.
“We competed really well for 35 minutes and then we had a couple of just bad mistakes,” said coach Pat Knight, whose team has lost five of eight after opening 7-1. “If we can sustain that effort and keep on going, I’ll be pleased, but the outcome is not what you want.”
Voskuil had 14 points in the conference opener, and is averaging 16.0 while shooting 51.7 percent from the field (15-for-29) over his last three games.
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