By: Ryan Mainville – Daily Toreador
On Wednesday night, No. 18 Texas Tech upset No. 4 Texas with a 79-77 victory inside of the Frank Erwin Center.
Against the Longhorns’ top-five defense, Tech got off to a slow start. They were down 11-5 at the first media timeout after making just two of their first nine.
The Texas defense continued to play aggressive, while their offense made open shots. Heading into the 12-minute media timeout, Texas had made four of their last five shots.
The Red Raider offense became dependent on bucket-getting junior guard Mac McClung, who already had seven points in the first eight minutes of the first half.
The Longhorns continued to nail shots, especially from their trio of veteran guard. Matt Coleman, Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey had already combined for 27 points with just over seven minutes left in the first half.
The Red Raiders finally responded with some shots of their own, entering the final four minutes of the game shooting 43 percent of the field. McClung continued his efficient night, owning nine points on 4-of-6 shooting at the four-minute media timeout.
As junior guard Andrew Jones of Texas started to heat up, the lead for the Longhorns grew. Jones already had 15 points with less than three minutes to go on the first half, and propelled Texas onto a 7-0 run.
As the first half wound down, the Texas defense began to swallow the Tech offense. Heading into halftime, the Red Raiders had not made a field goal in the last 4:47 minutes of game-time.
Tech went into the break trailing 38-48. The Longhorns’ defense had thrown a wrench into any offensive groove Tech could fine, holding the Red Raiders to an unbelievable two first-half assists.
Jones finished the first half with 18 points on 70 percent shooting from the field, while Jones and Ramey combined for 19 points of their own.
When the second half began, it was clear Tech had regained some intensity. The Red Raiders scored four points and allowed none a minute and a half into the second half, forcing Texas head coach Shaka Smart to use an early timeout.
As the second half went on, senior forward Marcus Santos-Silva attempted to provide a veteran presence on the floor. He had six points in the first seven minutes of the second half.
The Red Raiders improved offensive production fought to keep them close, but the Longhorns held strong and led by seven points with 11 minutes left.
McCullar took over the game, showcasing his ability to knock down shots and drive to the basket. He had eight points in the first 12 minutes of the first half to pull the Red Raiders within two points.
The Red Raiders as a team were finally able to space the floor some, creating some open shots to bring them again within two points with 6:31 remaining.
As junior guard Kyler Edwards found himself open, he knocked down a three with 3:51 to go, giving Tech their first lead since they led 2-1 to open the game.
“It’s what veteran players do,” head coach Chris Beard said on Edwards; second-half rally. “You have to have a short-term memory . . . in the second half he came out and was aggressive, dialed-in.”
McCullar battled to give his team some points, as he drove to the lane and finished a tough layup.
With less than a minute left in the game, Tech got a steal after unexpectedly dialing up a full court press. This tied the game at 77 with 36.4 seconds remaining.
With one offensive possession remaining, McClung ran an isolation and buried a long two-pointer with 3.0 seconds remaining.
Texas was unable to make a final shot, and Tech secured a 79-77 upset victory.
“We just wanted to get some space,” Beard said. “We were not against a three-point shot, we were trying to win.”