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NCAA hoops: Texas Tech keeps rolling with monster week that includes a win over Kansas

Keenan Evans #12 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders shoots over Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the game at Allen Fieldhouse on January 2, 2018 in Lawrence, Kansas. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

TEXAS LONGHORNS (10-5, 1-2 BIG XII)

Last week (0-1): L-@Baylor 69-60

This week: Wednesday vs. TCU, Saturday @ Oklahoma State

Texas fell to the Baylor Bears on Saturday, 69-60, dropping them to 1-2 in the Big 12. The Horns resorted to the poor shooting that haunted them all last season, and at times this year, shooting 34% from the field. Jase Fabrese led the Horns with 18 points, all in the 1st half. Star freshman Mohamed Bamba added 15 points and 9 rebounds. The Horns get TCU at home and travel to Oklahoma State this week. 

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (11-4, 0-3 SEC)

Last week (0-2): L-Florida 83-66,  L-LSU 69-68

This week: Tuesday @ Kentucky, Saturday @ Tennessee

Texas A&M was missing three starters going into their matchup with Florida, and without Admon Gilder (knee), Duane Wilson (knee) and leading scorer D.J. Hogg (suspension), they didn’t stand much of a chance against the Gators. The Aggies were hammered for the second straight time, losing 83-66 to Florida despite a healthy rebounding edge and only 1 free throw attempt for the Gators. Jay Jay Chandler scored 17 to lead the Aggies in the loss. The Aggies struggled defending the outside, as the Gators went 17-28 from distance. Things didn’t go much better against LSU on Saturday, with the Aggies again missing three starters. Tyler Davis led the Aggies with 19 points and 12 rebounds, but also committed a team-high 6 turnovers. The Aggies have now lost 3 straight and hit the road this week to take on ranked Kentucky and Tennessee. 

HOUSTON COUGARS (12-3, 2-1 AAC) 

Last week (0-1): L-@ Wichita State 81-63

This week: Thursday vs. Tulsa, Sunday @ East Carolina

Houston has established themselves firmly on the strong side of the AAC contenders, but it is clear the gap between “strong” and “the best” is still pretty wide. UH got rolled by Wichita State 81-63 on Thursday night, in a game they trailed by 32 at one point. Wichita started 9 of 11 from 3-point range, and never looked back. Zach Brown, whose mother played volleyball for UH, held Houston’s Rob Gray to only 13 points, well below his season average of 19. The Cougars shot only 4 of 15 from 3 in the game. Next week things stay tough with a Thursday matchup against conference-leading Tulsa and a Sunday road trip to East Carolina.

RICE OWLS (4-13, 1-3 CUSA)

Last week (1-1): L-Old Dominion 82-75(OT), W-Charlotte 73-64

This week: Saturday vs. North Texas

Rice fought hard to make their matchup with Old Dominion competitive, and they were able do take the Monarchs into overtime, but eventually fell 82-75. Robert Martin’s 17 points led the Owls and Connor Cashaw added 16. The Owls didn’t score for the first 4:12 of overtime. Rice rolled the respectable showing against Old Dominion into a win against Charlotte, taking Saturday’s game 73-64. Ako Adams led the Owls with 20 points and freshman Malik Osborne added 18 in the win, snapping a 7-game losing streak. 

BAYLOR BEARS (11-4, 1-2 BIG XII)

Last week (1-1): L-TCU 81-78(OT), W-Texas 69-60

This week: Tuesday @ West Virginia, Saturday @ Iowa State

Baylor came up just short at home in one of the best games of the season, falling 81-78 in overtime to TCU on Tuesday. Jo-Lual Acuil led Baylor with 28 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. His return from injury made a massive difference, particularly on the glass. The Bears out rebounded the Frogs 45-34. Terry Mason also added 20 and 9 in defeat. They avoided an 0-3 start to conference play with a 69-60 win over Texas on Saturday. Manu Lecomte and Jo Lual-Acuil both had 17 points in the win. The Bears got 23 points off the bench to the Longhorns’ 9. Baylor hits the road this week, with trips to West Virginia and Iowa State on the schedule.

TCU HORNED FROGS (13-2, 1-2 BIG XII)

Last week (1-1): W-@ Baylor 81-78, L-Kansas 88-84

This week: Wednesday @ Texas, Saturday @ Oklahoma

TCU bounced back from their first loss of the season to get an overtime win over Baylor, 81-78. TCU beat Baylor for the first time since joining the Big XII, having dropped the previous 11 matchups. Vladimir Brodziansky led the way for the Frogs with 18 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime. All five starters for TCU hit double digit scoring in the game. The Frogs then gave Kansas all they could handle, but eventually fell to the Jayhawks 88-84 on Saturday. Fouls cost TCU in this game, as they sent Kansas to the free throw line 33 times in the game. Brodziansky led the Horned Frogs with 20 points and Jaylen Fisher added 18 in the loss. The Horned Frogs travel this week, with road games at Texas and Oklahoma. 

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (14-1, 3-0 BIG XII)

Last week (2-0): W-Kansas 85-73, W-Kansas State 74-58

This week: Tuesday @ Oklahoma, Saturday vs. West Virginia

Texas Tech got the biggest win of the Chris Beard era, drubbing Kansas 85-73 to give the Red Raiders their first win at Allen Fieldhouse in school history. Tech continues to ride a strong defense, particularly on the perimeter, where they held Kansas to 6-26 from 3-point range. The Raiders dominated the glass, 44-29, and got 42 points off the bench. Keenan Evans led Tech with 15 in the win. Evans was strong again against Kansas State, as his 27 paced the Red Raiders in a 74-58 win to push Tech to 3-0 in conference play. Tech shot an impressive 59% from the field in the win. Texas Tech gets two top-10 opponents this week, going to Oklahoma on Tuesday before returning to Lubbock  for a weekend battle against West Virginia. 

SMU MUSTANGS (12-5, 2-2 AAC)

Last week (0-2): L-@ Tulane 73-70, L-@ Cincinnati 76-56

This week: Wednesday vs. Temple

Rough week for the Ponies. SMU dropped a 73-70 nail-biter to Tulane on Thursday night, despite getting a strong 24 point, 6 rebound effort from Shake Milton. You could argue Tulane won the game at the free throw line, as they hit 18 of 20 from the stripe in the game, including 4 in the last 20 seconds of the game. SMU was 15-22 from the charity stripe. There were no nails to bite Sunday against Cincinnati. The Bearcats stomped SMU 76-56 on a night where the Mustangs shot 35% from the field and turned the ball over 18 times. SMU will look to get back in the win column as they return home to face Temple this week. 

LSU TIGERS (10-4, 1-1 SEC)

Last week (1-1): L-Kentucky 74-71, W-Texas A&M 69-68

This week: Wednesday @ Arkansas, Saturday vs. Alabama

LSU lost a heartbreaker to Kentucky, 74-71  on Wednesday night. The Tigers actually led by 5 at halftime, and had two late three-point attempts to tie it, both which were off. In fact, the stroke from deep was a problem all night, as LSU shot just 6 of 24 from deep. Duop Reath led the Tigers with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Tremont Waters added 18 and 11. After nearly shocking the world against Kentucky, LSU actually did pull the upset over Texas A&M, taking a 69-68 win over the shorthanded Aggies. Waters scored 21 in the win, including a game winning 3 that dropped with 1 second left on the clock. LSU’s defensive strides are making them a team to watch in the SEC. The Tigers travel to Arkansas before a weekend home game with Alabama. 

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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