Short-handed Texas Tech basketball team can't keep up with Houston

Missing three starters, the Texas Tech basketball team could not hang with No. 1 Houston on Friday night.

Texas Tech v Houston
Texas Tech v Houston / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

There isn't much that can be said about the Texas Tech basketball team's 82-59 loss to No.1 Houston in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament on Friday night. It would have been tough enough to take down the Cougars with a healthy roster but that's not what the Red Raiders went to battle with.

Already without Devan Cambridge for the season due to a knee injury suffered in December and Warren Washington who has been dealing with a foot injury for the past month, Tech was also missing forward Darrion Williams on Friday. The sophomore went through warmups but was held out of action due for precautionary reasons.

Without those three starters, Tech was no match for the Cougars. However, Grant McCasland's team did manage to show some grit.

Down at one point 21-5, the Red Raiders fought back to trail by only three points at the break. What's more, Tech was able to tie the game at 37-37 with just under 18 minutes to play.

However, the upset wasn't to be. Houston simply had another gear that Tech couldn't come close to matching. That likely would have been true even if the Red Raiders had been at full health.

Houston plays defense at a level that puts the clamps on opposing teams. They lead the nation in points allowed per game at just 56.5.

That defense was too much for a Red Raider squad that had few answers. Tech shot just 33.3% as a team and 31.8% from 3-point range.

Pop Isaacs was the focal point of Houston's game plan. He was held to just six points on 2-13 shooting.

Meanwhile, his backcourt mate, Joe Toussaint, was unable to pick up the slack. While he did total 10 points, he was just 1-6 from the field as he was flustered by the bigger Houston guards for most of the game.

Unfortunately, the Red Raider role players couldn't make up the difference. Kerwin Walton managed only eight points while Robert Jennings scored just six points himself. Were an upset to have been in the cards, those players would have needed to have unusually big games but they were unable to do that.

The good news is that the Red Raiders didn't need to win this game. That's why Williams was held out.

Tech had already done enough to get into the NCAA Tournament field before arriving in Kansas City. What's more, Thursday's win over BYU only served to boost Tech's resume.

Thus, the Red Raiders were playing with house money on Friday. Unfortunately, their spin of the wheel against Houston didn't pay off.

Now, the Red Raiders wait until Sunday to have their name called on the NCAA Tournament Selection show. From here on out, the season will be on the line so there will be no reason to hold back any cards like Tech decided to do on Friday night.