Playing away from the Frank Erwin Center this season has been downright agonizing for Shaka Smart’s club.
The Longhorns entered Wednesday with an 0-10 record in true road contests and an 0-13 record away from The Drum. Texas’ matchup with Texas Tech in Lubbock presented one last chance to grab a true road win this season.
But any hope of ending Texas’ road woes evaporated into thin air as the Red Raiders blew open the game to begin the second half and never looked back. Texas Tech cruised to a 67-57 victory on its senior night, dropping the Longhorns (10-20, 4-13 Big 12) to 0-14 away from the Erwin Center this season.
Freshman guard Jacob Young, who has been in a deep shooting slump for most of the season, showed no hesitation from beyond the arc throughout the game. Young converted 4-of-9 three-pointers enroute to a season-high 14 points. Freshman forward Jarrett Allen turned in another double-double, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Texas received an early boost in the first half from senior forward Shaquille Cleare, who finished with 15 points on 7-of-8 field goals. He accounted for nine of Texas’ first 17 points.
Cleare showed off some nifty passing ability with under 9 minutes remaining in the first half. Cleare received a pass in transition near the top of the key, then took a few dribbles forward before seeing Allen cutting to the basket from his right.
Cleare lobbed up a pass, and Allen finished the alley-oop to tie the game, 16-16.
The first 14 minutes of the game were largely back-and-forth. A three from Young with just over six minutes left in the first half gave the Longhorns a 22-21 lead. But then Texas Tech took command of the game, going on a 10-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 31-24 lead.
The Red Raiders looked like they were going to head into halftime up 34-26 after a three from Texas Tech senior forward Aaron Ross. But then Young took an inbounds pass and raced up the floor with just seconds remaining, launching up a deep three and draining it as the buzzer sounded.
Young’s teammates quickly rushed onto the floor to congratulate Young as they headed to the locker room only down 34-29.
But Texas Tech stormed out of the locker room and went on a 14-2 run in the opening four minutes and 11 seconds to blow open the game at 48-31.
As they have time and again this season, the Longhorns didn’t quit and battled back. A pair of free throws from sophomore guard Kerwin Roach Jr. got the Longhorns within nine at 52-43 with just under 11 minutes remaining in the game. But nine points was the closest deficit Texas could get the rest of the way.
The Longhorns close out the regular season at home on Saturday at 3 p.m. against No. 11 Baylor. It’s senior day for Cleare, guard Kendal Yancy, transfer forward Mareik Isom and walk-on forward Ryan McClurg.