Poor shooting knocks BYU out of Big 12 tournament

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — BYU was bounced out of the Big 12 tournament Thursday in one of its worst shooting performances of the year, falling to Texas Tech 81-67.

As pregame warmups commenced at 10:15 a.m. in T-Mobile Center, Texas Tech came out as a team and started stretching on the court. The Red Raiders were regimented — joking around with each other but focused. They ran through their routine together as their strength coach yelled instructions and hyped up each player. The Red Raiders were ready to play.

“If you had been at shooting around and walk-through last night and heard them (Texas Tech), you would have thought it was the last possession of a big game,” said Texas Tech coach Grant McCasland.

Meanwhile, BYU players trickled in one-by-one, meandering onto the court and chatting with assistant coaches. Some sat on the bench, right in front of Texas Tech players warming up, and just watched while a camera man cover their hoop with a ladder to fidget with the shot clock camera.

With 60 minutes to tip-off the buzzer sounded, players from both teams started grabbing balls at putting up shots. The Red Raiders started with a classic layup line, hyping each other up on each attempt. The Cougars did their usual — putting the benchwarmers to work rebounding while the rest of the players shot around.

It was blatantly clear to see the difference in energy between the two teams, and it carried right over to the beginning of the game. Actually, it carried over into the entire game.

Even the courtside presence of Andy Reid, a BYU alum and coach of the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, didn’t help the Cougars on this day.

“That’s something we talked about just barely as a team,” said Spencer Johnson, referring to the postgame locker room meeting. “We just didn’t set the tone early in the game like we should’ve.”

BYU came out completely flat to start the game missing four of their first five shots, whereas Texas Tech made six of their first eight. The Cougars found themselves down 10 in just the first three minutes of the game.

The Red Raiders were a blur in the first half, shooting 63.6% from three and 51.7% from the field. Meanwhile, BYU shot an atrocious 16.7% from three and 21.2% from the field. It was the Cougars worst-scoring half of the season with just 23 points. They went into the locker room down 19.

The second half didn’t start much better. BYU was able to get into more of a flow offensively, but failed to provide any resistance to Texas Tech’s offense. The Red Raider lead ballooned to as much as 23 in the second half.

The Cougars certainly weren’t shooting well, but on top of that was just head-scratching mental lapses all over the place. A pull-up three in transition when a layup was wide open, getting the ball stolen from behind in the backcourt and fouling a three-point shooter. It was an uncharacteristic showing from a team that is constantly making the right plays.

BYU finally started to see some life with 11 minutes left in the game. Over the course of the next six minutes, the Cougars started to look like themselves again and managed to go on a 15-0 run to bring the game within seven points. Jaxson Robinson led the way, scoring 18 points to go along with five rebounds.

Texas Tech immediately responded with a 6-0 run to stretch the lead with just over three minutes to play. BYU couldn’t overcome the 13 point deficit in the final minutes, and the game ended at 81-67.

The Cougars ended the game shooting 20% from three and just 37.3% from the field. It was one of their worst shooting performances on the year.

BYU will hear it’s named called on Selection Sunday, most likely as a No. 5 seed. Read more about the Cougars potential first round matchup here.

Chase is the sports editor for the Daily Universe. Follow him on X: @Chase_rogers0

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