KANSAS CITY — Be careful what you ask for.

And maybe find something else that can work when your primary style of attack — 3-point shooting — isn’t clicking.

That’s the lesson fourth-seeded Texas Tech delivered to fifth-seeded BYU at T-Mobile Center on Thursday morning/afternoon, handing the cold-shooting Cougars an 81-67 comeuppance in a Big 12 tournament quarterfinal game.

Texas Tech (23-9) moves on to a semifinal showdown with No. 1 Houston on Friday, while BYU (23-9) heads back to Provo wondering why it got off to such a horrible start, and looking ahead to Sunday’s Selection Show knowing that, for the first time in many years, it doesn’t have to worry about making it into the Big Dance.

It is just a matter of who, when and where the Cougars will be playing, with the possibility of Salt Lake City’s Delta Center still in play, but perhaps not as much as it was 24 hours ago when BYU walloped UCF 87-73 to seemingly exorcise some of its postseason tournament demons.

“That one was tough to swallow,” BYU’s Richie Saunders said of the second loss this season to the Red Raiders, also an NCAA Tournament-bound team. “A few things about it just eat at you, and are eating at me. I felt like we, me included, we got out-toughed. Just physically (overwhelmed). It hurts, right, because I feel like that is something that has not happened to me, to us.”

Saunders said there might be a silver lining to the loss, a loss that coach Mark Pope termed as “frustrating” and “disappointing” and “an uphill climb” from the opening tip.

“We get some rest to recover from this, and we showed ourselves and everybody that just because we are down 20 — which sucks — that we are not going anywhere,” Saunders said. “We are going to fight to the very end of this. Super fortunate to have another game.”

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That next game will come Thursday, against a team the Cougars — projected as a fifth- or sixth-seed in the tournament — will be favored to beat. Let’s hope that they don’t say they are excited about it.

Seriously, that’s what Texas Tech guard Kerwin Walton said the Cougars said to get the Red Raiders fired up about Thursday’s rematch of Tech’s 85-78 win in Lubbock on Jan. 20.

Playing with more energy and passion, Texas Tech jumped out to leads of 9-0 and 25-11 before BYU alum Andy Reid — coach of the Kansas City Chiefs — could get settled into his courtside seat. Texas Tech did to BYU what BYU did to UCF 24 hours previously.

“We came in locked in,” said Walton, one of five Red Raiders in double figures with 12 points. “They said a few things about us before the game so it turnt us up a little bit.”

Asked exactly what they heard, Walton apparently referred to a video circulating on social media sites in which BYU’s Trevin Knell said the Cougars have had the rematch circled on their calendars for awhile.

“We heard certain things like they were ready for us and excited to see us, but I don’t think they was ready — they didn’t know how ready we were for them,” Walton said.

Texas Tech just took it to the Cougars, simple as that. Tech won the rebounding battle 42-34, including nine offensive rebounds it turned into 16 second-chance points.

“They came out really aggressive, we came out a little bit flat,” said BYU guard Spencer Johnson. “That was maybe the frustrating part, was we just didn’t set the tone early in the game like we should have, and, like coach said, we were just trying to play catch-up the whole time.”

Trailing 42-23 at halftime after shooting an abysmal 21.2% in the first half, the Cougars did make things interesting with a 15-0 run from about the 10-minute mark to the 5:04 mark of the second half. Turnt up, or not, Texas Tech started to turn it over, and BYU capitalized. Three-point shots that weren’t falling in the first half started to fall in the second.

Jaxson Robinson spurred the rally with two huge 3-pointers, and finished with a team-high 18 points. But Robinson wasn’t on the floor when Saunders made two free throws to cut Tech’s lead to 62-55, or when Joe Toussaint and Darrion Williams sandwiched Knell’s missed 3-pointer from the corner with triples that pretty much ended the uprising.

Pope said Robinson wasn’t in the game because they were trying to keep him out of drawing another foul.

“We had a defensive possession so we thought maybe we could milk one possession on the defensive end and keep him alive in the game,” was Pope’s explanation.

As for BYU explaining the 7-for-35 performance from deep that really cost them a chance of moving on, the Cougars credited Tech’s defense and said that games like that happen, from time to time.

The 20.0% was BYU’s second-lowest 3-point shooting percentage of the season, below only the 19.4% at Kansas State, which also resulted in a loss. The Cougars are now 0-8 when they shoot less than 32% from 3-point range.

“I mean, that’s just how the game works. We don’t get to choose when we make shots and when we don’t. But what matters is if we’re going to come out there and fight,” Robinson said. “I felt like by the time we decided to put up that fight, it was too late.”

With big man Aly Khalifa missing the second half with a sprained ankle, post player Fousseyni Traore turned in a nice second half, finishing with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Khalifa, a Muslim who was fasting during daylight hours for the second-straight game for Ramadan, said he would have been hurting the team if he played on the ankle in the second half.

“We didn’t come out as strong as yesterday, and then I rolled my ankle, and I couldn’t take any medicine, obviously, because (of Ramadan),” he said. “It was just a combination of everything.”

The same could be said of BYU’s troubles Thursday — started, apparently, before the Cougars even took the floor.

BYU coach Mark Pope looks at the replay against Texas Tech during the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, March 14, 2024. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News