No. 24 Texas Tech hosts struggling TCU

Field Level Media

No. 24 Texas Tech returned to the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Monday and immediately will put that ranking to the test with a Monday night home game against TCU in Lubbock, Texas.

The Red Raiders (15-8, 6-4 Big 12) have won two consecutive games, including overcoming a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat Texas 62-57 on Saturday in Austin.

"There wasn't a lot of panic from our bench, just disappointment that we weren't playing well," coach Chris Beard said.

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"We have a lot of core values in our program and one of them is to 'play it to the bone.' Sometimes when you get down like that you just have to have the mindset that it's not over and start chipping away. We made the plays down the stretch that it takes to win a Big 12 game on the road."

TCU (13-10, 4-6) is on a five-game slide and has failed to score more than 67 points in any of the past 10 games. The Horned Frogs scored a season-low total in a 60-46 home loss to Kansas on Saturday night. They scraped together a mere 18 points by halftime.

"We made some adjustments offensively, and it wasn't as effective as I hoped it would be," said TCU coach Jamie Dixon, whose team shot 35.2 percent from the field, 22.7 percent (5 of 22) from 3-point range and 3 of 9 from the free-throw line.

"It's kind of a pattern we're in right now, and obviously we're not shooting it well."

Before losing five in a row, TCU posted a 65-54 home win against then-No. 18 Texas Tech on Jan. 21. Desmond Bane led the Horned Frogs with 27 points, hitting 6 of 8 shots from beyond the arc. He leads the team with a scoring average of 16.4 points and is the top long-range shooter (63 of 146, 43.2 percent).

Only two other players -- RJ Nembhard (12.3) and Kevin Samuel (10.7) -- average better than 6.7 points.

It won't be easy to crack Texas Tech's defense, which has held nine of its 23 opponents below 60 points. That's just more of the same from Beard's team, which ranked No. 1 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency in kenpom.com's rankings last season, when the Red Raiders battled their way to the national championship game.

They have restocked behind freshman Jahmi'us Ramsey (15.8 points per game) and Virginia Tech grad transfer Chris Clarke, who averages 5.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. TJ Holyfield is another impactful grad transfer (9.3 points, 5.1 rebounds), while one of the holdovers from last season, Davide Moretti, is the NCAA's active leader in free-throw percentage (91.2, 197 of 216 over three seasons).

Ramsey led Texas Tech with 15 points in the first meeting against TCU, when the Red Raiders were outrebounded by seven, were 4 of 17 from 3-point range, got to the foul line only eight times and committed 15 turnovers.

--Field Level Media

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