Texas Tech-Baylor Preview

Baylor’s ability to win close games is a big reason it’s on the

verge of a third consecutive 20-win season.

After pulling out a pair of late victories, the No. 22 Bears

might be in for an easier time while trying for a fifth straight

home win over Texas Tech on Tuesday night in a Big 12 matchup.

Baylor (19-5, 6-4) has won four of five, but it hasn’t been

easy. Despite leading for most of the game, the Bears needed a

tip-in by Ekpe Udoh with 1.3 seconds left to beat Missouri 64-62 at

home Saturday. That came after Udoh’s hook shot with 26 seconds

remaining gave Baylor a 55-53 win at Nebraska on Wednesday.

“One thing about the Big 12 is that you are going to get a lot

of great games and you are going to get a lot of great endings,”

Bears coach Scott Drew said.

Baylor was 14-23 in games decided by five points or less during

Drew’s six previous seasons. However, the Bears are 6-2 in such

contests this season, thanks to play of veterans like juniors Udoh

(13.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game) and LaceDarius Dunn (18.7

ppg), and senior Tweety Carter (16.1 ppg, 6.1 assists per

game).

“It talks about the leadership and the upperclassmen making sure

that we don’t give up,” Drew said. “Some teams fold and other teams

persevere and fight back, and I think our leadership has allowed us

to do that.”

That ability to come through in the clutch helped the Bears

overcome 13 turnovers and a 41.7-percent shooting effort against

Missouri. They shot 40.0 percent against Nebraska, but managed to

outrebounded the Cornhuskers and Tigers by a combined 74-54.

“We won the way we wanted – with rebounds and defense,” Drew

said.

Drew also knows the importance of getting quality play out of

guys like Udoh and Dunn. Udoh had just six points Saturday, but

recorded his third game-winning shot this season.

“Ekpe doesn’t mind having a lot of pressure on him, and he

performs well under it,” Drew said of Udoh, who in his first season

since transferring from Michigan already broke the school’s

single-season record for blocked shots with 100.

Dunn, second in the Big 12 in scoring, is averaging 21.3 points

on 51.1 percent shooting in four career games against Texas

Tech.

Though the Bears fell 83-76 at Texas Tech in the teams’ last

meeting Feb. 7, 2009, they haven’t lost to the Red Raiders at the

Ferrell Center since March 2, 2005. Baylor is averaging 75.8 points

on 47.9 percent shooting during its four-game home winning streak

against Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders have struggled away from home in conference

play, allowing 84.2 points per game while posting a 1-4 Big 12 road

mark.

Like Baylor, Texas Tech has endured a pair of tight contests

heading into this game. After winning 72-71 at Oklahoma last

Tuesday, the Red Raiders lost 67-65 at home to Texas A&M on

Saturday.

John Roberson had 22 points and Mike Singletary added 17, but a

10-2 Aggies’ run erased a four-point second-half lead for Texas

Tech.

Roberson (15.4 ppg) is averaging 24.0 points in his last three

games, but 7.0 on 5 of 20 shooting in two career games at

Baylor.

Texas Tech, 1-3 against ranked opponents this season, will host

Baylor on March 2.