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NCAA hoops: Another big win for Tech, Baylor and A&M struggle

What is going on with Billy Kennedy and A&M? SportsDay

TEXAS LONGHORNS (11-6, 2-3 BIG XII)

Last week (1-1): W-TCU 99-98 2OT, L-@ Oklahoma State 65-64

This week: Wednesday vs. Texas Tech, Saturday @ West Virginia

Playing their first game since the announcement that sophomore guard Andrew Jones has been diagnosed with leukemia, the Longhorns played possibly their game of the season and beat TCU 99-98 in double overtime. The Horns were forced to play with a limited rotation with the absence of Jones and the injured Kerwin Roach. Only seven players got minutes in the game, including Dylan Osetkowski logging 20 points in his 49 minutes on the floor. Eric Davis, Jr. led Texas in scoring with 22 off the bench. The Oklahoma State Cowboys wouldn’t miss their shot in the final seconds, as Tavarius Shine tipped in the game winner with only 6 seconds left in OSU’s 65-64 victory. Texas had a double digit lead throughout most of the 2nd half, but a late 13-0 run got the Pokes back in the game. Davis again led the Horns with 18 points in defeat. Mohamed Bamba put up 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Horns face the top of the conference this week, taking on Texas Tech and taking a road trip to West Virginia. 

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (11-6, 0-5 SEC)

Last week (0-2): L-@ Kentucky 74-73,  L-@ Tennessee 75-62

This week: Tuesday vs. Ole Miss, Saturday vs. Missouri 

Once off to an extremely promising start, the wheels may be falling off in College Station. Texas A&M got Robert Williams and Admon Gilder back, but their return wasn’t enough to stop their slide in SEC play. Kentucky, playing without Quade Green, stole a 74-73 victory over the Aggies on Tuesday. The Aggies had two missed three pointers in the closing seconds from Gilder and D.J. Hogg. Tyler Davis’ performance was the highlight of the loss, as he put up 21 points on 8 of 10 shooting. After a few close losses for the Aggies, they got blown out by Tennessee, 75-62. Rebounding and turnovers were a big part of the Aggies’ problems. They had 17 turnovers and got out-rebounded 38-29. Gilder had 16 points in the win. Next week’s schedule has the Aggies at home against Ole Miss and Mizzou. 

HOUSTON COUGARS (14-3, 4-1 AAC) 

Last week (2-0): W-Tulsa 104-71, W-@ East Carolina 65-49

This week: Wednesday @ Tulane, Saturday vs. Wichita State

Coming off a frustrating loss to Wichita State last week, Houston came out with a vengeance on Thursday night, logging a lopsided 104-71 win over Tulsa. They did it in historic fashion, hitting 18 three pointers, the most in AAC history in a conference game, and set a school record for most points scored in a conference game. Rob Gray led the way with 34 points and 8 assists in the win. The Coogs shot 55% from the field to Tulsa’s 39%. The Cougars kept rolling against East Carolina, taking a 65-49 win over the Pirates. Corey Davis, Jr. led the Coogs with 20, and Rob Gray added 12 points and 9 assists. Houston held East Carolina to under 30% from the field in the win. The Cougars travel to Tulane on Wednesday and get a rematch with Wichita State this weekend. 

RICE OWLS (4-14, 1-4 CUSA)

Last week (0-1): L-North Texas 85-78

This week: Thursday @ Southern Miss, Saturday @ Louisiana Tech

Rice had no answers for North Texas’ 3-point shooting, as the Mean Green hit 17 3-pointers en route to an 85-78 win over the Owls. Connor Cashaw was the bright spot for Rice, scoring 30 points and 6 rebounds in the loss. Ako Adams also pitched in 16 points in the effort. The Owls’ disastrous season continues with road trips to Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech on the schedule this week.

BAYLOR BEARS (11-6, 1-4 BIG XII)

Last week (0-2): L-@ West Virginia 57-54, L-@ Iowa State 75-65

This week: Monday vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday @ Kansas

Baylor did a great job defensively against West Virginia, but at the end of the day the Mountaineers walked away with a 57-54 win. The Bears were hoping for a measure of revenge. Last season, Baylor went into West Virginia with the school’s first ever #1 ranking, and were promptly blown out by WVU. This year it was 2nd ranked West Virginia, their highest ranking since Jerry West played there, defending their poll placement. The Bears held WVU to 31% shooting, but shot only 35% themselves in the loss. Baylor’s 21 turnovers were a killer, as they only forced 11. Manu Lecomte led the Bears with 13 points in defeat. The Bears lost again on Saturday, dropping a 75-65 battle with Iowa State. Freshman Tristan Clarke had his best game of the year, putting up 16 points and 15 rebounds for Baylor in the loss. The Bears shot just 4-18 from 3-point distance, including a brutal 0-7 from Lecomte. Baylor gets Oklahoma State before traveling to Kansas this week. 

TCU HORNED FROGS (13-4, 1-4 BIG XII)

Last week (0-2): L-@ Texas 99-98 2OT, L-@ Oklahoma 102-97 OT

This week: Wednesday vs. Iowa State, Saturday @ Kansas State

TCU suffered a heartbreaking loss to Texas on Wednesday night, dropping a 99-98 double overtime thriller. Jaylen Fisher missed a game winning layup at the buzzer. The Frogs rallied from a 13 point 2nd half deficit to take the game to overtime, led by Kenrich Williams 26 points. The woes continued for TCU against Oklahoma, with TCU dropping another OT thriller 102-97. Fisher led the Frogs with 22 points, but his OU counterpart Trae Young put up 43 points for the Sooners. The loss was TCU’s 4th Big XII loss after going 12-0 in non-conference play. All 4 losses have been by 4 points or less, and the Texas loss was their 2nd by a single point. TCU gets Iowa State and Kansas State in the coming week. 

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (15-2, 4-1 BIG XII)

Last week (1-1): L- @ Oklahoma 75-65, W-West Virginia 72-71


This week: Wednesday @ Texas, Saturday @ Iowa State

Texas Tech struggled to defend one of the best players in the country, particularly in the 2nd half, as Trae Young and Oklahoma got a 75-65 victory on Tuesday. Young, who leads the nation in scoring and assists, put up 27 and 9 in the win. Tech’s defense held up in the first half, allowing Oklahoma only 29 points, but the Sooners boomed in the 2nd half, running away with the game by shooting 56% in the 2nd half. Keenan Evans put up 19 in the loss. He was the only Red Raider in double digits. Things got brighter for the Raiders, as they got their biggest win of the season on Saturday, a 72-71 win over West Virginia. Tech shot 50% from the field, and were led by Keenan Evans 20 points. Tech senior forward Zach Smith has a broken foot, and may not play for the rest of the season. The Red Raiders travel to Texas and Iowa State this week. 

SMU MUSTANGS (12-6, 2-3 AAC)

Last week (0-1): L-Temple 66-64

This week: Wednesday @ Wichita State, Saturday vs. Tulane

SMU lost a shocker to Temple on Thursday, 66-64 in Dallas. The loss broke a 33-game home winning streak for SMU, which was the second longest streak in the country. Shake Milton led the Mustangs with 25 points. He hit 5 of his 6 free throws. The rest of the Ponies combined to shoot 4 of 11 from the stripe. SMU has now lost 3 straight games after a strong non-conference run and a 2-0 start to conference play. Things won’t get easier this week as SMU travels to play top-5 ranked Wichita State and return home for a revenge matchup against Tulane. 

LSU TIGERS (11-5, 2-2 SEC)

Last week (1-1): W-@ Arkansas 75-54, L-Alabama 74-66

This week: Tuesday vs. Georgia, Saturday @ Vanderbilt. 

On a night when LSU star Tremont Waters wasn’t at his best, senior forward Aaron Epps stepped up with 13 points and 11 rebounds in a 75-54 win over Arkansas. Waters, who had been on fire of late, had just 8 points on 3 of 10 shooting. LSU shot 53% from the field, holding the Hogs to just 33%. The LSU roller coaster hit another low against Alabama over the weekend, as the Tide took a 74-66 victory over the Tigers. Waters led the Tigers with 19 points, on just 5-13 shooting. The Tide bench outscored LSU’s 28-11. LSU gets Georgia at home before taking a road trip to Vanderbilt this week. 

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Kyle Tucker had a big day at the plate on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, with one team or the other putting on a solid offensive performance in each, the Astros tried to win their fourth series in their last five by taking the rubber game on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Thanks in part to a big day from Kyle Tucker, who played a significant role in the early offense they used to power to the win, they would accomplish their mission.

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 18-16, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Nate Pearson (0-1)

Kyle Tucker helps lead the offense to seven unanswered runs

Houston did not go easy on Nate Pearson in his 2021 debut. After a scoreless first, the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single, then brought the first run of the day home on an RBI walk by Michael Brantley. Another walk opened the door in the bottom of the third, and Kyle Tucker capitalized with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, followed by an RBI single by Robel Garcia to make it a three-run lead, ending Pearson's day one out into the bottom of the third.

Things didn't get easier for Toronto's pitching in the next inning, as Jose Altuve would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. A single and a walk then set up another big hit for Kyle Tucker, a three-run dinger to make it seven unanswered runs and giving Tucker four RBI on the day.

Blue Jays pound Greinke in the fifth

After four shutout innings to start his day on the mound, working around a few hits along the way, Zack Greinke tried to cash in on his team's offense to get another win on his record. He wouldn't be able to get it done, though, as Toronto would get after him in the top of the fifth. They would score four times amongst five batters that came to the plate, with a solo homer by Rowdy Tellez, a two-RBI double by Bo Bichette, and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

That made it a 7-4 game, and with Greinke still not having recorded an out in the frame, Dusty Baker would lift him at 88 pitches in favor of Bryan Abreu, who would get a pop out and a double play to end the inning and keep the lead at three runs. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston takes the series

No more runs would come on either side the rest of the way, with Kent Emanuel working around a single for a scoreless sixth, Ryne Stanek getting a 1-2-3 seventh, and Andre Scrubb doing the same in the eighth to set up Ryan Pressly for the save. Pressly would get the job done, sending the Blue Jays down in order, including two strikeouts to wrap up the win and giving Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will stay at home to continue this homestand, welcoming in the Angels for three games starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature a pitching matchup of Alex Cobb (1-2, 5.48 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA) for Houston.

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