Texas Tech basketball knocks out No. 11 Baylor on Senior Day

On the strength of two big runs, one in each half, the Texas Tech basketball team scored a 78-68 win victory over No. 11 Baylor on Saturday.

Baylor v Texas Tech
Baylor v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages
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All season long, the Texas Tech basketball team has been known as one that is capable of clawing back from large deficits. But on Saturday, in the regular season finale, the script flipped as the Red Raiders had to hold off No. 11 Baylor after building a large first-half lead. Fortunately, Grant McCasland's team was able to put together one big run in the second half to score a 78-68 win on Senior Day in Lubbock.

In a reversal of the normal fortunes against good teams, Tech actually played a great first half and was finally the team that jumped out to a double-digit lead early. In fact, the Red Raiders had a 16-0 run after Baylor opened the scoring on the way to a 40-27 halftime lead.

However, the second half saw Baylor fight back in a big way. With three Red Raider starters saddled with four fouls, Baylor attacked the rim with impunity and actually took a 54-53 lead with 7:31 to go in the game.

That's when the Red Raiders hit a gear that Baylor couldn't match on this day, though. Pop Isaacs, Darrion Williams, and Kerwin Walton would each hit a 3-pointer on each of Tech's next four possessions (with two 3s from Walton in that span) to spark a 14-2 run that would restore order and give the Red Raiders all the cushion necessary for one of the season's biggest wins.

Tech and Baylor now end the season locked in a tie for third place in the Big 12 standings. What's more, the Red Raiders are surging at the right time having won the last three games of the season. Here are some rapid reactions to this impressive win for McCasland and his program.

Baylor's bigs don't dominate

Even though Warren Washington was again sidelined, the Red Raiders kept the Baylor big men from dominating the way they did earlier this year when these teams met in Waco. Specifically, Baylor's 7-foot future NBA pick, Yves Missi, had only seven points and two rebounds.

What's more, he played only 20 minutes as he seemed to be in Scott Drew's dog house for most of the night. Against Tech in Waco, he scored 17 points and pulled down seven boards in a game that Washington missed due to the flu.

Meanwhile, Robert Jennings was actually the better post player. The Red Raider sophomore put up eight points and collected seven rebounds in 23 minutes of action before fouling out. It was a sign of how far Jennings has come as a player given that when these teams met previously, he had only two points and four boards. His progression over the past month has been one of the best developments of the year for the Red Raiders.

Texas Tech wins the 3-point battle

In a matchup of the two top 3-point shooting teams in the Big 12 in terms of percentage, it was the Red Raiders that had the edge.

Baylor, which came into the game shooting over 40% as a team, was only 5-21 (23.8%) for the game. Meanwhile, Tech was 7-20 (35%). In the two games between these teams this year, Baylor was just a combined 10-39 (25.6%), far below their season average.

Texas Tech cleans up on the glass

Amazingly, Texas Tech dominated the glass in this game. The Red Raiders collected 40 rebounds on the night, ten more than Baylor.

That's an incredible development considering that Baylor played three 7-footers in the game while Tech played no one over 6-foot-8. When these teams met in Waco, Baylor won the battle on the boards 33-24 and dominated the game inside. That didn't happen on Saturday, a sign that Texas Tech has improved tremendously in an area that was its biggest weakness for most of the season.

Isaacs and Williams peaking in March for Texas Tech

Leading Tech in scoring was Pop Isaacs who had 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists despite being saddled with four fouls for most of the last 10 minutes of the second half. It was his fourth-straight double-digit scoring game and during that span, he's rounded back into form after a prolonged slump as he's averaged 16.5 points per game.

Darrion Williams was fantastic as well. He scored 16 points and gobbled up 11 rebounds. He's had 10 straight double-digit scoring games during which he's averaged 17.2 points. He's also had five double-doubles over that time.

With Williams and Isaacs playing arguably their best basketball of the year at the same time, the Red Raiders are a dangerous team. That gives McCasland two go-to scorers who can create their own offense and that could be invaluable in the postseason, which starts on Thursday for the Red Raiders.

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