About time! Horns beat Tech to end Big 12 losing skid
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Julien Lewis scored 18 points and Texas ended a five-game losing streak in the Big 12 with a 73-57 win over Texas Tech on Saturday night.
Ioannis Papapetrou scored 15 points and Demarcus Holland 11 for the Longhorns (9-10, 1-5), who got their first win since Dec. 29 and ended their worst losing streak in the Big 12 since the conference began play in the 1996-97 season.
Sheldon McClellan, Texas' leading scorer on the season, started for the first time in five games and finished with 10 points.
Jordan Tolbert had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Texas Tech (9-9, 2-5). The Red Raiders have lost 17 in a row in Austin dating back to 1996.
Texas has struggled all season with inconsistent play, blown leads, injuries and the NCAA suspension of Myck Kabongo until mid-February. The losing string to start the Big 12 was one of the Longhorns' worst conference skids in 30 years.
But then Texas finally found a way to win against the Red Raiders — who, like Texas, are near the bottom of the league standings.
Texas dominated play under the basket in the first half, outscoring Texas Tech 24-6 in the paint and building 35-24 lead at halftime. Texas led 23-20 before closing the half with a 12-4 run sparked by a 3-pointer by Holland, who followed it with a steal and dunk.
McClellan, who has struggled to stay in coach Rick Barnes' lineup, made his first start since the Big 12 opener against Baylor on Jan. 5, but was mostly ineffective with 2 of 7 shooting. Holland and Lewis provided the early scoring spark, combining for 17 points in the first half. Texas was missing leading rebounder Jonathan Holmes, who is out indefinitely with a broken bone in his right hand, but Cameron Ridley dominated the boards with nine first-half rebounds.
Texas gave up a double-digit lead in a home loss to Kansas a week earlier, but was in total control of the Red Raiders just a few minutes after halftime. Lewis scored five in a row and swished a 3-pointer that put Texas ahead 42-26.
Texas Tech cut the lead to 52-44 on a 3-pointer by Jaye Crockett with just over seven minutes left but never threatened again. The Longhorns scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer by Papapetrou, to end the rally.