No. 7 Baylor won't be at full strength against No. 11 Texas Tech
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No. 7 Baylor will be short-handed when it tries to gain a season split against No. 11 Texas Tech on Wednesday in a key Big 12 Conference showdown at Lubbock, Texas.
However, the Bears have been there before -- and have been able to cope and at times excel. Baylor (21-4, 9-3 Big 12) jumped three spots in the AP poll on the strength of dominating wins last week over Kansas State and No. 20 Texas.
The 80-63 home victory over the Longhorns on Saturday was especially noteworthy as Baylor ran away with the game despite foul trouble for starter Matthew Mayer and an early first-half injury to key reserve Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua.
Tchamwa Tchatchoua tore multiple ligaments in his left knee in the non-contact injury and will be lost for the remainder of the season.
The Bears led by 13 points at halftime, by 21 seven minutes into the second half and never allowed Texas to get closer than 11 points. Adam Flagler led the way with 20 points for Baylor while James Akinjo added 15, Flo Thamba racked up 12 points and a season-high 11 rebounds and Kendall Brown and Mayer scored 10 points each.
"Really proud of the team's effort, really proud of how they stepped up when Jon went out," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "They did a great job in saying, 'We're going to pick this up for you, Jon. We're going to win this for you.'"
With Tchamwa Tchatchoua injured, Thamba played 30 minutes and racked up the first double-double of his four-year Baylor career.
"I was kind of down when it happened," Thamba said of his teammate's injury. "There was a moment when I had eye contact and it was hard. I'm just proud of the guys. They showed up. When Jon went down, it just gave us extra motivation to go out there and play."
The Bears, despite playing without leading scorer LJ Cryer (who has missed five straight games with a foot injury), have won six of their past eight contests.
The Red Raiders beat then-No. 1 Baylor 65-62 on Jan. 11 in Waco, snapping the Bears' 21-game winning streak dating back to last season's NCAA Tournament run.
Texas Tech (19-6, 8-4) has won four of its past five games, most recently posting an 82-69, come-from-behind victory over gritty TCU on Saturday. The Red Raiders, playing without injured guard Kevin McCullar, turned the game with a 31-7 run in the first nine minutes of the second half and kept intact their undefeated home record.
"'Let's continue to work and let's continue what we're doing,'" Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said he told his team. "'Let's put the pedal to the metal and just go at them,' and so we did not want to let up and not let off the gas there. I thought our guys responded well."
Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 20 points for Texas Tech in the win, with Bryson Williams adding 16, Davion Warren hitting for 12 and Adonis Arms tallying 11 points.
Texas Tech's bench scored 36 points on a day when it was sorely needed. The Red Raiders' defense also forced 20 turnovers that led to 26 points, crucial in the comeback.
"We turned it around on the defensive end," Williams said. "We started taking care of business on that side of the floor. We really locked in on that side, and that really changed the game for us."
Texas Tech is 15-0 at home this season, a mark that will be severely tested by Baylor on Wednesday.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 15, 2022