LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Taurean Prince is used to being the spark off the bench for No. 20 Baylor.
Tuesday night was no different as he scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half, and the Bears held off Texas Tech 54-49.
The Bears came out flat and weren’t moving the ball well but started to improve a couple of minutes before he entered the game, Prince said.
”I just came in and kept things going,” he said.
Prince was 9 for 14 from the field, including three 3-pointers. He didn’t score in the second half until 8:32 remained.
Lester Medford scored 10 points for the Bears (19-7, 7-6 Big 12).
Royce O’Neale hit a 3-pointer with 4:08 to go to put the Bears up 48-43 after the Red Raiders pulled within two points on a dunk by Keenan Evans.
Devaugntah Williams made a 3 with 13 seconds remaining to pull the Red Raiders to 52-49, but they got no closer.
Texas Tech scored 16 points off of 16 turnovers by Baylor and outscored the Bears 12-4 on second-chance points.
The Red Raiders ”do a great job being active, just not giving you good looks, contesting shots on the penetration,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “They compete. Coach (Tubby) Smith does a great job always getting them to do that.”
Williams scored 15 points and Zach Smith added 10 to lead Texas Tech (12-15, 2-12).
Prince’s 18 points were the most by a Baylor player before halftime since Brady Heslip had 20 in March 2013.
The win for Baylor ended a two-game skid. Texas Tech has now lost four straight.
Tubby Smith said his players’ mechanics could use some tweaking.
”Just get in the gym and shoot more,” he said. ”Unfortunately, it seems like each guy has something they have to change in their shot. It’s going to take some time to do it.”
Baylor’s offense went silent a couple of times in the second half, allowing the Red Raiders to creep back. Rico Gathers, who averages 11.5 points and 12.4 rebounds, came up short in both – finishing with only two points and six rebounds. Late in the game he missed an easy dunk.
Kenny Chery’s four free throws down the stretch kept the Red Raiders from getting closer at the end.
After trailing by six in the first half, the Bears used a 13-0 run – with 12 from Prince – to take the lead. Texas Tech made just 2 of 11 shots during the span. Baylor led 34-26 at halftime.
Smith set a Texas Tech freshman record for blocks in a season with 38. He broke the mark set by Will Flemons during the 1989-90 season.
Baylor: The Bears have held teams to 30 or fewer points in the first half in 20 of 26 games this season, including 10 times at 25 points or fewer. They’ve trailed at halftime only three times.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders’ offense can’t seem to get over the 60-point mark lately. In the 12 games including the loss to Baylor, Texas Tech has score 60 points or more just twice. In five of those, the Red Raiders scored 43 or fewer points.
Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith is in danger of having his second losing season in 24 years. In his first season in Lubbock last year the Red Raiders finished 14-18.
Referee Kipp Kissinger got on Drew in the first couple of minutes of the game, telling him, ”Do not take off your coat like that.” Drew tore off his suit coat after an early foul call on one of his players.
Baylor: Hosts Kansas State on Saturday.
Texas Tech: Hosts No. 22 Oklahoma State on Saturday.