No. 25 Texas Tech falls to No. 1 Houston in Big 12 semifinals

Release provided by Wes Bloomquist Texas Tech Athletics

KANSAS CITY – No. 25 Texas Tech showed fight with a first-half comeback but couldn’t maintain momentum in the second as its run at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship ended with an 82-59 loss to No. 1 Houston on Friday at T-Mobile Center.

The Red Raiders (23-10) had 19 turnovers and saw the Cougars (30-3) make 12 3-pointers and go on a 30-5 second-half run. Tech falls to 2-5 in Big 12 Championship semifinal games with the loss after it had advanced with a quarterfinal win over BYU on Thursday night. Darrion Williams was unable to play due to an ankle injury he suffered in the win over BYU and Warren Washington missed his seventh straight game with a foot injury. Williams had started all 32 games this season.

“We struggled to defend the 3-point line,” Texas Tech coach Grant McCasland said. “Their ability to break us down and put us in ball screens and move the basketball got us on our heels. We tried to probably get too much back too quickly, turned the basketball over, and that’s what great teams do to you. So, hats off to Houston. They’ve got a great team.”

The Red Raiders (23-10) now await the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Selection Show which is set for 5 p.m. on Sunday night. The show will release of the full bracket by region with the Red Raiders expected to be selected for their 20th appearance in program history.

“We never tried to look forward. That is the truth with our team,” McCasland said. “We’ve really tried to be in the moment and try to figure out how we can be the best we can be. Now we get to turn the page at this point in the season. These guys were extremely diligent to be about how do we improve and that’s allowed us to get our name called on Sunday.”

Chance McMillian led the Red Raiders with 15 points and five rebounds in his first start of the season, while Joe Toussaint scored 10 points and led Tech with three assists. Eemeli Yalaho scored a career-high 10 points and added three rebounds and Robert Jennings and Pop Isaacs finished with six points. McMillian started for the first time this season and finished the game 5-for-8 from the field and 3-for-6 on 3-pointers. Tech would go 7-for-22 on 3-pointers and 22-for-24 at the free-throw line.

Houston finished the game shooting 29-for-59 (49.2%) from the field, 12-for-28 on 3-pointers, and 12-for-14 from the free-throw line. LJ Cryer led UH with 20 points after going 6-for-11 on 3-pointers and Jamal Shead finished with a double-double after having 12 points and 10 assists. Emanuel Sharp added 17 points with four 3-pointers and former Red Raider Mylik Wilson finished with nine points and six rebounds.

UH moved to 2-0 on the season against Tech with a 77-54 win on January 17 in Houston during the regular season.

Tech trailed by as many as 16 in the first half but would battle back to make it a 32-29 game at halftime after a late 13-0 run. McMillian led Tech with 10 points in the first half after making two 3-pointers, while Yalaho had seven points and Isaacs and Toussaint three each. McMillian’s first half spark started when he drilled a 3-pointer to cut UH’s lead to 27-17 before a pair of Yalaho free throws made it an eight-point game. McMillian had a steal and another 3-pointer to cut it to 27-22. UH took a 12-5 lead into the first media timeout with the Red Raiders shooting just 1-for-7 and Cryer giving the Cougars their first double-figure lead at 15-5 with a 3-pointer. UH had a 14-0 run to take a 21-5 lead before Isaacs hit a 3-pointer. A pair of Walton free throws cut it to two and a layup by Yalaho took the game into halftime with Tech down three. The Cougars were up 16 midway through the first half. Tech finished the first half shooting 9-for-26 (34.6%) from the field, 4-for-12 on 3-pointers, and 7-of-8 at the free-throw line. UH was 12-for-31 from the field and 4-for-14 on 3-pointers.

Isaacs tied the game up for the first time with an and-one to make it 37-all before a Sharp 3-pointer on the other end for the Cougars to begin the second half. Houston responded with a 17-0 run to take a 57-38 lead before a Walton 3-pointer stopped it with 11 minutes to play in the game. A Shead 3-pointer pushed Houston’s lead to 62-43 with 10 minutes to play and three free throws from Sharp had the Cougars up 65-43 with nine minutes remaining. Another Sharp 3-pointer pushed UH’s run to 9-0 and had the Red Raiders trailing by 25.

Texas Tech is now 2-10 all-time against No. 1-ranked opponents and fell to 17-27 in 27 appearances in the Big 12 postseason tournament.

More about: