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Texas Tech takes 6-game win streak to No. 20 Texas

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The road gets much tougher now for No. 20 Texas and surging Texas Tech, who square off on Saturday night in a Big 12 Conference opener in Austin, Texas.

Both squads carry an 11-2 record into the clash, with the Longhorns winning five straight and the visiting Red Raiders coming off six consecutive victories.

The Longhorns’ latest outing was a 79-62 win over UT Arlington on Monday that kept Texas undefeated at home. Max Abmas poured in 18 points and Kadin Shedrick added 17 to help the Longhorns pull away after halftime.

Texas led by just seven points at the break before a 3-pointer by Brock Cunningham midway through the second half expanded the margin to 19 points. After that the Mavericks never got closer than 14 points.

“The guys really, you did well, continued to work the game continued to battle the way we talked about,” Texas coach Rodney Terry said. “It was a one-day turnaround with these gaps and we were able to get done what we needed to close out the non-conference slate.”

Ithiel Horton added 13 points and a season-high 10 rebounds and Cunningham took 11 boards for the Longhorns. Texas played without defensive stalwart Tyrese Hunter, who was ruled out just prior to tipoff with an undisclosed illness.

Horton started in lieu of Hunter and made the most of his chances.

“It’s a ‘next man up’ mentality,” Horton said. “Our team is deep enough to where you put the next man in and the machine’s gonna run, you know. It felt good to get out there and establish the rhythm, establish the flow, especially with Big 12 play coming up. My coaches and my teammates believed in me so that gives me confidence and that makes all the difference in the world.”

The Red Raiders travel to Austin on the heels of a dominating 85-57 home win over North Alabama on New Year’s Day. Pop Isaacs led Texas Tech with 21 points while Chance McMillian added 16 and Warren Washington tallied 10 in the win. The Red Raiders led throughout and hit 8 of 20 3-pointers, with Isaacs and McMillian producing three each.

Texas Tech’ two losses this season have been by a combined 24 points to bluebloods Villanova on a neural floor and Butler on the road in overtime. Since the latter loss on Nov. 30, the Red Raiders have captured six consecutive games at home by an average of 22 points per contest.

The Red Raiders have excelled at getting to the free throw line and making the most of their opportunities in their winning streak, making 82 percent of their shots from the charity stripe.

“It’s been a big deal for us to separate how do you get to the free throw line in Big 12 play and how do you not just rely on shooting threes,” Texas Tech coach Grant McCasland said. “On the road, you’ve got to really get paint and get to the foul line. It’ll be an emphasis to our success, and I think it’s been a key to our run.”

Texas owns an 89-66 advantage all-time against the Red Raiders and has won 23 of the past 27 meetings at home.

–Field Level Media

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