The now No. 6 Texas Tech Red Raiders next take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday night at Gallager-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The last time these two teams met, the Red Raiders pulled out a 75-70 win after an impressive second-half performance by Keenan Evans.
Of course, the big question leading into this game is if and how much Keenan Evans will play against the Cowboys. Evans suffered a toe injury in the first half of Saturday night’s loss to Baylor. On Monday, Coach Beard addressed the media and stated that Keenan was listed as day-to-day and also said that Evans would do anything to play on Wednesday.
If Evans can’t play, it appears as though Niem Stevenson might get the start. Josh Webster might also get an increase in minutes with his ball handling and defense. However, without Evans, everyone will need to step up on the offensive side of the ball, starting with Jarrett Culver. Culver, averaging 10.8 points per game, needs to repeat his last performance against the Cowboys as he had 25 points in the Red Raider win in January.
The Red Raiders will also need to have a more balanced offensive attack then last time they faced the Cowboys as Keenan Evans and Jarrett Culver were the only two players in double figures for the Red Raiders. Although they both scored over 25 points, they were the Red Raiders’ two main options every time down the floor. The Cowboys will now be more prepared for that. Look for Zhaire Smith with his athleticism and quickness to get some drives to the hoop. Tommy Hamilton IV will also need to have an increased role off of the bench if the Red Raiders are to have a balanced attack tonight in Stillwater.
The Red Raiders will need to limit the number of touches and shots Jeffrey Carroll has tonight as Carroll is by far the best player for the Cowboys. Carroll had 16 points against the Red Raiders in January and was the team’s leading scorer. The main key to containing the Cowboys offense will be to create turnovers. In their last match-up, the Red Raiders forced 20 turnovers, something that led them to their huge comeback win.
The Red Raiders will need to get another road win to keep pace with the Kansas Jayhawks in the Big 12. The confidence that Chris Beard has in Keenan playing leads me to believe that Evans will play tonight against the Cowboys. If he plays, this team becomes much better and has a great chance to win tonight.