Baylor (22-4, 9-4) fell to Texas Tech (17-9, 5-8) 84-78. Baylor seemed to have taken control of the game after overcoming an early 11-0 deficit. But to many, the refs took control of the game right back.
Baylor fell behind early. Texas Tech hit 5-of-6 shots and grabbed an 11 point lead. But Terry Maston brought the Bears back. Maston finished with 22 points. Texas Tech had no answer for him.
In the first half, Manu Lecomte was brilliant. For the third straight game, Baylor used Lecomte more off the ball. He ran around screens, and he provided a dominant force from the perimeter. Look at how well he runs off the ball here:
When you should be watching Manu Lecomte instead of the ball pic.twitter.com/HLpteE40hQ— Kendall (@kkaut) February 14, 2017
But the second half whistle destroyed Baylor. Manu Lecomte fouled out with 8:18 left on a perplexing sequence. He was called for a moving screen then a technical foul. Baylor couldn’t hold onto a lead without him.
The Bears entered the game in the top 25 of defensive free throw rate on KenPom. They don’t foul very often. But they were called for a foul on nearly every trip in the second half. On a night they didn’t play well enough in many areas, they weren’t overcoming a whistle like that.
Baylor shot just 7-of-27 from 3-point range. As Al Freeman missed his third straight game because of a suspension, Baylor’s wings could not make enough perimeter shots.
And Johnathan Motley did not have his best game. He failed to score in the first half, and he missed a few shots he normally makes.
The story of this game will focus on the officiating. Baylor certainly did not get a favorable whistle. But the team had chances to overcome what may generously be described as poor officiating. Baylor missed nine free throws and 20 3-point shots. They survived a poor shooting game against Texas Tech in Waco. They could not survive a poor shooting game and a bad whistle in Lubbock.
Baylor will take on Kansas in Waco on Saturday. They’re going to need help to win the Big 12 now. They didn’t get any tonight.