AUSTIN, Texas — After a start to the season that was hampered by injury and foul trouble, T.J. Holyfield has found his groove on both ends. Saturday, it was Holyfield’s defense that saved the day for Texas Tech. The senior blocked three shots in the game’s final minute as the Red Raiders held on to beat Texas 62-57.
Holyfield scored just two points, but grabbed eight rebounds and blocked five shots as the Red Raiders improved to 15-8 overall and 6-4 in Big 12 play.
Texas Tech had to recover from another slow road start, battling back from a 27-11 deficit, eventually tying the game at 41.
The game stayed close throughout, as the teams went back and forth in the final minutes. A Terrence Shannon runner with the shot clock expiring gave the Red Raiders a two-point lead, but Texas’ Courtney Ramey immediately answered with a 3-pointer.
Kyler Edwards gave Texas Tech the lead back on the next possession with a layup. The two teams traded stops, and then Holyfield blocked two go-ahead shots.
Davide Moretti followed that with two free throws, and Holyfield blocked another shot. Moretti sealed the win with two more free throws.
Jahmi’us Ramsey came up big in Texas Tech’s second half comeback, attacking the basket and hitting clutch 3-pointers. He led the team with 18 points and was incredibly efficient, taking just seven shots.
The Red Raiders played a sloppy first half, turning it over 11 times. They struggled getting the ball across midcourt against Shaka Smart’s full court press and failed to capitalize when they did, despite having favorable numbers.
After a Terrence Shannon dunk tied the game at eight, the Red Raiders went six minutes without scoring as the Longhorns rattled off a 14-0 run.
Texas Tech simply could not get into a rhythm offensively; their timing was off on passes, resulting loose balls and passes going out of bounds.
Texas guard Andrew Jones did damage on the other end, scoring 11 of the Longhorns’ first 16 points. He banked in his first 3-point attempt of the game, and had success shooting from outside and getting to the rim.
Texas Tech made an 8-0 run before halftime to keep the game from becoming a blowout, but still trailed 31-19 going into the break.
The Red Raiders did not make a 3-pointer in the first half, but Jahmi’us Ramsey nailed one 32 seconds into the second, spurring an offensive resurgence for the Red Raiders.
They settled down, stopped turning the ball over and got looks at the basket. Kyler Edwards blew by his man for an and-one that tied the game at 41.
The Red Raiders settled in defensively as well. They didn’t have the same lapses that allowed open 3-pointers, and only turned the ball over twice, keeping Texas’ fast break opportunities in check.
Texas played the second half shorthanded, as both Kai Jones and Jase Febres left with injuries. That forced seldom-used big man Kamaka Hepa into action, and he responded with five key points down the stretch, keeping the Longhorns in the game.
Texas Tech has had trouble all season finishing close games, but they outplayed Texas in crunch time to seal the win.
The slow starts on the road are becoming a problem for Texas Tech. They’ve now had to claw their way back into the game in consecutive road games. This time, they were able to come away with the win.
The Red Raiders have a quick turnaround, as their next game is Monday at home against TCU.