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February 27, 2012
Texas Tech at Baylor Preview

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Baylor coach Scott Drew has been pleased at his team's second-half efforts in the last two games.

Texas Tech coach Billy Gillespie shouldered much of the blame for his squad's most recent late-game meltdown.

Going for a program-record 12th Big 12 victory, the No. 9 Bears close out their home schedule Monday night when they face a Red Raiders team seeking its first league road win since last season's trip to Waco.

Since a 57-56 loss to Kansas State on Feb. 18 - its first defeat to an unranked opponent - Baylor (24-5, 11-5) has defeated Texas and Oklahoma to remain in contention for the second seed in next week's conference tournament in Kansas City.

The Bears, tied with Iowa State for third in the Big 12 - one game back of No. 7 Missouri - close out their regular season Saturday in Ames.

Baylor overcame a 12-point second-half deficit in last Monday's 77-72 victory in Austin and rallied from three down at halftime Saturday.

"Second halves have been very good in our last two games. Maybe it's our depth and wearing people down a little bit,'' said Drew, one win from passing Ralph Wolf for the second-most in program history with 152. "Or maybe it's just us making more plays and playing with more energy.''

The Bears' three-guard rotation of Pierre Jackson, Brady Heslip and A.J. Walton has been providing plenty of energy. Jackson and Heslip each hit four 3-pointers and combined for 34 points against the Sooners, while Walton chipped in five boards and three assists off the bench.

"We're going to need everybody to be on top of their game," Walton said.

That includes Big 12 preseason player of the year Perry Jones III, who is averaging just 8.8 points on 29.7 percent shooting over the last six games.

Jones, freshman Quincy Miller, and senior Quincy Acy, who will play a program-record 65th Big 12 game on Monday, shot a combined 7 for 24 and totaled just 26 points against the Sooners.

"All our frontline guys really didn't finish at the rate they normally do," Drew said.

In Baylor's 73-60 road win over Texas Tech on Jan. 7, Miller had 15 points and a team-best nine rebounds, while Jones and Acy combined for 15 points and 11 boards.

Heslip hit four 3s and finished with 16 points in that game, and Jackson scored eight of his team-high 19 points during a 14-2 run to open the second half.

The Red Raiders (8-20, 1-15), who were outscored 41-29 in the final 20 minutes of that contest in Lubbock, arrive in Waco with just one win in their last 16 games. They lost 71-67 in overtime to Texas on Saturday after leading 67-61 with 2:20 left.

"I take full responsibility for us not getting a shot at the basket at the last minute and 45 when we had a four-point lead and for us fouling," Gillespie said. "Those are coaches' mistakes not players' mistakes and it was an unfortunate loss for us."

The Red Raiders, losers of 10 straight away from home, have also dropped 10 consecutive Big 12 road games since a 78-69 victory over Baylor on Feb. 19, 2011.

Baylor had won five straight at home over Texas Tech and three in a row overall in this series.

The Red Raiders lead the all-time series 75-48 but have lost nine of the last 12.

Louisville NEWS

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