LUBBOCK, Texas – Norense Odiase poured in all 14 of his points during the second half, and the Texas Tech men’s basketball team wiped away a 10-point second-half hole to draw even before falling 69-59 to No. 1 Kansas Saturday at United Supermarkets Arena.
The Red Raiders (11-3, 1-2 Big 12), who are receiving votes in both Top 25 polls, were dealt consecutive losses for the first time this season and had its 10-game home winning streak end. Tech connected on 51.9 percent of its second-half field goal attempts, but Kansas answered with a 58.3 ratio and utilized a 42-26 rebounding advantage. The 69 points were a season-low for the Jayhawks.
“We had some opportunities during tonight’s game, but we were going up against the number one team in the nation,” Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said. “They proved tonight why they deserve that title coming off the game they played on Monday (vs. Oklahoma). I think our guys were ready to play tonight. We played hard. Unfortunately, we just didn’t defend very well especially in the second half.”
For Odiase, he drained all seven of his shot attempts during the second half en route to double figures for the eighth time in his last 10 games. The 14 points also matched his second highest scoring output in a Big 12 game.
Toddrick Gotcher secured 13 points and two assists. He tallied a 5-of-12 shooting performance and reached 10-plus points for the team-leading 11th time on the season.
Justin Gray tucked away 10 points, three rebounds and two steals to claim double figures in consecutive games for the third time in his career and for the first time in Big 12 action. He was 4-of-7 from the floor over his 23 minutes of court time.
Aaron Ross added seven points off the bench but was limited to only 12 minutes of action due to foul trouble. He has notched at least five points in 11 of Tech’s 14 games this season. Matthew Temple picked up three points and two rebounds as Tech matched KU’s bench with 22 points apiece.
Zach Smith tallied five points and a team-high six rebounds whereas Devaugntah Williams was held to a season-low four points and misfired on seven of his eight field goals.
Texas Tech turned in a 23-for-56 effort from the floor and was 4-for-16 from beyond the three-point line. The Red Raiders struggled to a 9-for-19 clip on the free throw line. Over the last two games, Tech is 18-of-34 from the charity stripe after knocking down 74.2 percent in its first 12 games.
Kansas dialed up a 23-of-55 shooting performance and sank 9-of-22 from triple territory. Conversely, the Jayhawks were an efficient 14-of-16 at the foul line.
Perry Ellis and Frank Mason III produced double-doubles to spark Kansas. Ellis garnered 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Mason filled the box score with a game-leading 17 points, a career-best 10 rebounds and five assists. Wayne Selden Jr. tacked on nine points and two assists for the Jayhawks.
Kansas extended its two-point halftime to double digits on the strength of a 13-5 spurt over the opening 3:28 of the second half. The run was highlighted by a pair of Selden layups and a Selden assist to Carlton Bragg, Jr. for a dunk. Ellis provided a three-pointer to make it 42-32 at the 16:21 mark.
The Red Raiders answered with a 12-2 flurry of their own to knot the score at 44-44 with 10:23 remaining. Gotcher ignited the charge with a stepback trey off the dribble on the right wing and a jumper from the top of the key. Odiase rattled home a midrange jumper, and Ross buried a three-pointer at the left wing late in the shot clock. Odiase hit a jump hook for the equalizer.
Kansas went back ahead by seven at 57-50 with 5:03 to go courtesy of Selden dunk and a Mason trey. The Red Raiders got back to 58-54, but Selden swished a three-ball with the shot clock running down which was opened up by a Landon Lucas screen to push the Jayhawk advantage back to seven points with 2:24 left. Kansas closed out the 10-point win with four free throws inside the final 38 seconds.
“Kansas executed back-door plays well, that’s what Coach Self’s team do,” Smith said. “We were very lackadaisical in our response. We weren’t even overplaying or denying, and we still got back-doored. It’s really disappointing to see that happen. Additionally, Kansas executed some flare screens well. We knew they were coming. It seems like we just ran into them twice and didn’t switch out. That was disappointing. It’s situations like those where our guys need to communicate. I thought we didn’t do a very good job of that. The same thing happened at Iowa State. We didn’t do a good job of communicating when those flare-screens were being set and pressuring the passer. Communication is something we definitely need to work on.”
Neither team could find an offensive rhythm in an opening half that featured five ties and a pair of lead changes. The two teams hit nine field goals apiece and shot around the 30 percent mark.
Texas Tech snatched an 11-10 edge at the 13:07 mark when Ross drove the basket for a layup. The Jayhawks rattled off nine of the next 11 points finished off by a pair of Ellis layups to go up 19-13 with 7:49 remaining.
The Red Raiders fired back with a Gotcher three-pointer and a powerful Smith two-handed dunk off a putback to pull back within 19-18 with 7:03 left. The game was played within a single possession for a majority of the closing seven minutes, and Kansas took a 29-27 advantage into the locker room.
Texas Tech travels to Kansas State on Tuesday. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. CT from Bramlage Coliseum, and the game will be televised by FOX Sports Kansas City in addition to being available on www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
Visit www.TexasTech.com for the latest news and information on the men’s basketball program. Fans also can follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/TexasTechMBB and @TexasTechMBB on Twitter.
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