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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 winning streak moves to six

Eighth-inning rally powers Astros to series sweep over Rangers

Yuli Gurriel brought in the go-ahead run late in Sunday's game. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Winners in the first three games of this series and their last five games overall, the Astros continued their climb towards the A's for first place in the AL West. They completed the four-game sweep, ending a successful homestand on a positive note before heading on the road.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 2

Astros' Record: 24-17, tied for first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brooks Raley (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Joely Rodriguez (1-2)

Astros strike first, McCullers Jr. goes six scoreless

After the Rangers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Houston grabbed an early lead off the bat of Alex Bregman. He provided the third single of the inning, a one-out RBI to put the Astros in front 1-0, a score which would hold steady for a while. Another run didn't come across until the bottom of the fifth when Houston would load the bases with one out when Carlos Correa would get an RBI groundball to double the lead to 2-0.

Lance McCullers Jr. did well with the small lead, backing up his recent eight-inning gem with a quality start against Texas. He allowed a couple of hits each in the third and fourth but would erase the runners with no damage allowed. The Rangers threatened in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double before the runner moved to third on a wild pitch, putting him in a great position with no outs. McCullers Jr. would come away unscathed, finishing the inning and his day by retiring the next three batters. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 95 P.

Rangers tie it against Scrubb

First out of Houston's bullpen was Andre Scrubb, and he would not fare as well as the Astros starter. A leadoff single turned into a two-run game-tying homer, making it 2-2 before Scrubb would sit down the next three in order. Still tied in the top of the eighth, Brooks Raley had a terrific inning, striking out the three batters he faced.

Houston rallies ahead in the eighth for the four-game sweep

The top of Houston's order mounted a threat in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out to try and regain the lead. Yuli Gurriel would come through with the go-ahead at-bat, getting a sac fly to put the Astros back in front 3-2. A two-out walk loaded the bases again, setting up Chas McCormick to provide two insurance runs on a two-RBI single.

Myles Straw added one more on an RBI single, making it a four-run game at 6-2 heading to the ninth. Enoli Paredes made his long-awaited return from the IL, appearing for the first time since April 8th to try and close things out in the ninth. He tossed a scoreless inning, finishing off the four-game sweep, extending Houston's winning streak to six games, and keeping them in step with Oakland for the AL West lead.

Up Next: After a day off on Monday, the Astros will begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday. They'll kick off a three-game set in Oakland against the A's at 8:40 PM, an exciting matchup to determine who will head into the weekend atop the division. While Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08 ERA) is the expected starter for Houston, Oakland has not yet determined their rotation for the series.

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