LUBBOCK — Tubby Smith must have thought his 1998 Kentucky Wildcats’ national championship team got together for a reunion dressed in scarlet and white.
The first-year Texas Tech coach watched his team blow out of the locker room playing like it had its eyes on the Big 12 championship instead of one that had gone winless in the first three conference games.
When the damage was over, No. 12 Baylor was on the wrong end of an 82-72 loss to a Red Raiders squad that looked much more inspired and motivated from the tipoff Wednesday night at United Spirit Arena.
After the game, Red Raiders fans stormed the court and celebrated with their team while chanting “Tub-by, Tub-by, Tub-by.”
Following Saturday’s 88-62 blowout of TCU at the Ferrell Center, the Bears (13-3, 1-2) hoped for a similarly proficient performance on the road. But the Red Raiders (9-8, 1-3) hit their first five shots and kept building their momentum to open up a 43-22 halftime lead.
“Credit Texas Tech for coming out and executing, and putting us on our heels and dominating for 20 minutes,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “In the first half, we didn’t have anything go right and they didn’t have much go wrong. They executed well and had high percentage shots. We didn’t score and missed 3s and easy ones, and that affected us on the defensive end.”
Though the Bears played better in the second half, they couldn’t dig out of such a big halftime hole as their four-game winning streak in Lubbock died.
“They were the hungrier team, and we didn’t come out with the composure to win the game,” Baylor guard Kenny Chery said. “They came out like it was the last game of their life. We tried to get back in. But it was pretty disappointing.”
While Jaye Crockett was the biggest catalyst in Texas Tech’s superb start, his teammates pitched in all over the court. Crockett finished with 19 points while Toddrick Gotcher hit 17 and Dejan Kravic and Robert Turner added 14 apiece.
The Red Raiders shot 57.1 percent while holding Baylor to 41.3 percent. Chery scored 22 points and Taurean Prince hit 13 for the Bears, but their ball movement suffered as they finished with a season-low six assists. Baylor big men Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin combined for just 12 points and five rebounds.
“We’ve got to find ways to get them (Jefferson and Austin) the ball more,” Drew said. “Texas Tech did a good job of being physical with them and not allowing them shots. But you also have nights where you don’t play as well. Every loss is tough, but for a coach when you get outplayed, those bother you a lot more.”
Baylor’s only lead came in the opening minute of the game when Chery scored in the paint for the first basket.
But it quickly became evident that the Red Raiders were there to play as Jordan Tolbert got loose for a slam and Kravic drove inside for a basket. After Tolbert scored again in the paint, Crockett started his terrific night by hitting the Red Raiders’ next four baskets.
After breaking loose for a slam, Crockett buried a 3-pointer. The veteran forward broke away for another slam before drilling an outside shot to give the Red Raiders a 15-6 lead less than eight minutes into the game.
The Red Raiders kept stretching their lead as Crockett drained another trey and Kravic hit a short jumper. With Gotcher’s two drives for baskets, the Red Raiders pushed their lead to 26-12 midway through the first half. The 7-0 Kravic finished with a game-high six assists.
“We had a couple of late rotations that we’ve got to get better at,” Prince said. “But it’s nothing we can’t fix. They were moving the ball pretty well, and Kravic was finding other big guys cutting to the basket.”
The Bears cut the lead to 32-21 before Texas Tech finished the first half with an 11-1 run.
Randy Onwuasor started the closing first-half run by driving to the basket, drawing a foul and hitting the free throw to complete a three-point play. Crockett followed with a slam before Kravic got inside for a basket. Dustin Hannahs closed the half with a drive for a basket to open up a 43-22 lead.
The Bears played with a little more inspiration to open the second half, but Texas Tech kept answering with treys as Gotcher and Turner hit from long range.
Trailing 64-47, the Bears finally started getting back into the game as Chery hit an outside shot, Rico Gathers broke loose for a slam and Prince drilled a trey to cut Texas Tech’s lead to 65-54 with 6:34 remaining.
But with a chance to cut the lead to single digits, Jefferson missed inside and Ish Wainright was called for an offensive foul. Tolbert hit a free throw but missed the second. However, Turner rebounded and Crockett drove for a basket to push Texas Tech’s lead to 68-54.