Five On It! Texas Tech Rallies To Defeat Texas Christian, 83-79

Feb 23, 2016; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders forward Zach Smith (11) slam dunks the ball against the TCU Horned Frogs in the second half at United Supermarkets Arena. Texas Tech defeated TCU 83-79. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2016; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders forward Zach Smith (11) slam dunks the ball against the TCU Horned Frogs in the second half at United Supermarkets Arena. Texas Tech defeated TCU 83-79. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

A second-half rally was all Texas Tech needed to drop the Horned Frogs and earn their fifth-straight win.

It would seem that as a rule Texas Tech athletic events never seem to lack the kind of heart-stopping, blood pressure rising, anger-inducing and all-around stress that Red Raider fans have become accustomed to.

This would once again be the case on Tuesday night as Texas Tech hoped to extend their winning streak to a fifth-straight game by being victorious at home against Texas Christian.

However, things didn’t exactly start off all well and good for Texas Tech as Tubby Smith’s team found themselves in a back and forth match early on.

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Texas Tech found themselves routinely burned by inconsistent calls and the Horned Frogs’ red hot three-point shooting in the first half. The crowd seemed to realize this as well, as much of the raucous atmosphere and true home court advantage seemed to all but disappear once Texas Christian went on a 14-6 run with five minutes left before the break.

Texas Christian would lead 47-35 at the half, and a hushed United Supermarkets Arena seemed nervously quiet.

Had Texas Tech’s remarkable conference win-streak finally reached it’s end?

No, of course not. There isn’t enough drama in that.

Tubby Smith must have busted out the good ‘ole wizard hat again because Texas Tech started off the second half en fuego. Thanks in large part to a reinvigorated perimeter defense and a pound-the-paint offensive approach the Red Raiders knotted the game up 49-49 only six minutes into the half.

Texas Christian would battle back for the sake of making things interesting, however anytime the Horned Frogs seemed to threaten, Zach Smith was waiting in the wings to dunk them back into the Stone Age.

Ultimately, Texas Tech would hold on for an 83-79 victory and season sweep of the Horned Frogs. This marks the second time this season that Texas Tech has recorded a series sweep versus a conference opponent, with the previous coming against Oklahoma State earlier this season.

Smith’s performance against Texas Christian was absolutely dominant; the sophomore would finish the night with 23 points, 3 blocks, 8 rebounds, and 3 soul-claiming dunks.

Aaron Ross would also get in on the fun by exploding for a career-high 25 points off the bench. Ross had a great night on the boards; hauling-in 5 defensive rebounds and 1 offensive board. More importantly were Ross’ contributions in the paint and at the line.

Ross finished a perfect 12-of-12 from the FT line, and was good for 6-of-13 from the field.

Five Quick Shots from Texas Christian at Texas Tech

  1. Aaron Ross Ross’ offensive contributions are paramount for Texas Tech, this is obvious. However, against Texas Christian, Ross’ contributions at the free-throw line may have made the difference in Texas Tech claiming another victory, or losing in heart-breaking fashion.
  2. Zach Smith — It’s just past-midnight at the time of this writing and Texas Christian players are probably still having nightmares of Zach Smith’s dunk show. Smith isn’t exactly a ho-hum player; his subdued demeanor on the court belies just how dominant of a player he is both offensively and defensively.
  3. True Grit — During the halftime period the phrase “Typical Tech” probably came to the mind of many in attendance at the United Supermarkets Arena. It’s something that would have been hard to argue against at the time; Texas Tech (as others) has a history of beating team(s) it shouldn’t, only to lose to the teams it should. After all, it was only earlier this season that Texas Tech seemed unable to get over the hump and close-out those down-to-the-wire games. If you want to see just how far this team has come in such a short period of time look no further than Texas Tech’s second half Tuesday night.
  4. What Now? — Knock on wood, cross your fingers, and maybe say a prayer or three because Texas Tech has a very good shot at making the NCAA Tournament. A victory on Tuesday was crucial for any chance of this happening; there is a historical precedence for teams that reach the 8-win mark in conference play gaining a tournament birth. Just last year Oklahoma State finished their season with a record of 18-13, (8-10 in conference). Texas Tech’s season record thus far: 18-9 overall, 8-7 in conference.
  5. Up Next — Texas Tech will hit the road as they travel to Lawrence, Kansas to take on the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks. Tipoff is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. CT, and television coverage will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.

Next: It is a joke that Texas Tech basketball remains unranked

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