Texas Tech did to BYU what the Cougars did to UCF in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City on Thursday.

The Red Raiders rained bombs on a sluggish BYU squad.

Tech came out and blitzed the Cougars. Where UCF played a game before BYU, the Cougars played one before a fresh Texas Tech team took to the floor. The team from Lubbock practically chased them off the court in the first half of an 81-67 win.

You can break down this game a hundred different ways, but it really came down to a simple deal.

BYU could not hit shots.

Cougar starters went 1 for 17 from 3-point land.

They couldn’t hit from distance and made just five of their first 17 shots from the field in falling behind by 23, finishing the game a paltry 7 of 35 from distance, four of those from Jaxson Robinson.

All those pretty 3-point shots that found the bottom of the net against the Knights bounced short, were fired too long, and, at times, found nothing but air. Even shots inside the paint were hard to come by. In the end BYU shot 37% from the field while Texas Tech was a smooth 49% overall and 47% from the 3-point line, with nine makes beyond the stripe.

Texas Tech came out very physical and used superior speed to clog up BYU’s offense. Even then, Trevin Knell, Noah Waterman, Dallin Hall and Aly Khalifa had plenty of wide-open opportunities. They simply wouldn’t fall.

“Early in the game our connected defense continues to improve and I thought we made it hard enough on them, even though they did miss a few open ones, our rebounding was tremendous,” said Texas Tech coach Grant McCasland.

“They didn’t have an offensive rebound at our place. When they missed they got offensive rebounds. We were on our heels watching that UCF game and they had UCF on their heels yesterday to start the game. Just made it an emphasis of how well we could defend, how active could we be and we were matching that on the offensive end.”

Even so, BYU did gallantly make a comeback in the second half to cut the lead from 23 to seven. But a pair of 3-point shots by the Red Raiders inside six minutes to play prevented a miracle comeback.

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“The second half I did a terrible job with our team. I didn’t do a good job keeping us aggressive and I’ve got to do a better job to help them close games. We’ve got a great fight. We’ve got a great team and are really thankful to be moving on,” said McCasland.

The UCF game was a classic example of BYU’s hot-shooting and executing a team-oriented offense.

The loss to Texas Tech highlighted BYU’s poor shooting and Tech’s speed and athleticism built into an organized offensive scheme that was hot. The Red Raiders present a big matchup problem for BYU’s guards because they can drive and hit from outside.

They play team basketball instead of that one-on-one street ball stuff.

BYU players gave great effort. They were just a little flat and it showed in how their shots missed the mark. Texas Tech was simply better, the first team this year to sweep the Cougars, 2-0.

With the win over UCF, BYU had already solidified its ticket to the NCAA Tournament as an expected five or six seed come Selection Sunday.

The 23-10 BYU squad remains a tough bracket selection for an opponent, but head coach Mark Pope will need the coming week to get his guys back on point and focused.

But it all comes back to making 3-pointers for the Cougars.

As long as they do, they’ve proven they can hang with the best in the country because they did so in the nation’s top league.

Robinson, a born shooter, knows it can come and go. Hopefully next week they fall.

“This loss, it obviously hurts but we have the tournament coming up so we have to move on. We will digest the film, stuff like that, look over it. But essentially we’ve gotta move on to the next game and focus on what’s ahead. We’ve got bigger goals, so that’s what matters,” said Robinson.

BYU guard Jaxson Robinson hits a 3 against Texas Tech during the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, March 14, 2024. Texas Tech won, 81-67. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News