The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Frank Erwin Center (16,734) -- Austin, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Texas Tech 10-5, Texas 12-1. Away Record: Texas Tech 1-5, Texas 5-1. Neutral Record: Texas Tech 0-2, Texas 2-1. Conference Record: Texas Tech 3-5, Texas 7-0. Series Record: Texas leads, 73-53.
GAME NOTES: The third-ranked Texas Longhorns continue their run through their Big 12 schedule, as they welcome the Texas Tech Red Raiders to Austin this evening, for a conference showdown at the Frank Erwin Center.
For the first time since the 1977-78 season, the Longhorns have opened league play with seven straight wins. The fast start is historic, as not only has the team won all its Big 12 affairs, but done so by double digits for the first time since the 1921-22 campaign. Texas was at it again on Monday, routing nationally-ranked Texas A&M in College State, 69-49.
The Red Raiders have certainly struggled in terms of consistency this season and an 11-12 overall record is the direct result. Still, Tech had posted three straight wins heading into this week's action, but had the streak halted in a big way with an 88-66 lopsided loss at second-ranked Kansas on Tuesday.
Texas has won 14 straight against Texas Tech at the Erwin Center and holds a 73-53 series advantage overall.
The Red Raiders have had their problems at the defensive end of the court this season, allowing a generous 76.1 ppg, in addition to getting outrebounded by 3.2 boards per game. Offensively, the team possesses enough firepower, led by Mike Singletary, who paces Tech in both scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg). John Roberson (13.4 ppg) has provided the perimeter balance, shooting .417 from three-point range and leading the team with 53 three-pointers. Brad Reese also has the ability to stretch defenses, hitting 43.6 percent of the time from long range and chipping in 12.0 ppg. Kansas led from start to finish and Texas Tech was unable keep pace, falling by 22 points at home on Tuesday. The Red Raiders got a strong performance from Roberson, who poured in 24 points. Singletary added 12 points and eight rebounds to the cause, but Tech shot just .371 from the field as a team, including .273 from behind the arc (6-of-22).
The Longhorns have the ability to win games at both ends of the floor, but the team's tenacity at the defensive end is what has propelled it through league play thus far. Texas has held its first seven Big 12 foes to a mere 53.4 ppg and just .360 shooting. The play at that end, coupled with a balanced offensive attack, makes UT a formidable foe for any opponent. Scoring depth is apparent, with four double-digit scorers contributing to 76.5 ppg. Sophomore superstar Jordan Hamilton has been a monster, averaging 19.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Hamilton gets help along the frontline by fellow forwards Tristan Thompson (12.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Gary Johnson (11.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg). Freshman point guard Cory Joseph (11.4 ppg) and sophomore J'Covan Brown (9.3 ppg) headline the play in the backcourt. The Longhorns shot a cool 50 percent from the field, while limiting the Aggies to just 30.9 percent shooting in a 20-point romp. Hamilton led the charge with 20 points and six rebounds. Joseph and Thompson finished in double digits as well with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Longhorns have taken their defensive play to new heights and will need to continue to do so to finish what they have started in the Big 12. The Red Raiders have been dreadful on the road this season and that isn't likely to change in Austin.