Well, that was a tough one to swallow. In a game where you had all of the momentum for a large majority of the second half, it makes it that much harder of a loss to take. We had the Jayhawks on their heels and just could not find a way to close them out down the stretch.
Kansas’ Ochai Agbagi was a massive thorn in the Red Raiders side, scoring 23 points (8-11 from the field and 4-7 from the 3-point line), along with the game winning layup. Outside of him, Tech did very well defending throughout the game per usual.
The key reason Kansas came from behind to win was because of their defense, as well. About halfway through the second half, they switched to a 2-3 zone, proving to stymie the Red Raider offense the rest of the way. Mac McClung had a good first half, netting 13 of his 21 in the first 20 minutes. While he fell off in the second, Terrance Shannon Jr. picked up the slack, scoring 20 of his own. The main issue from the Tech offense tonight stems from two starters not being able to score a single point. Guard Kyler Edwards and big man Marcus Santos-Silva were both unable to score which proved crucial in tonight’s loss, especially from Edwards. He went 0 of 9 from the floor, 5 of those being from 3-point range. He found himself with open looks time and time again, but he could just not get one to fall. Had either one of those guys played close to their normal stat sheet, Tech would have come away with a win tonight. As I stated after the ACU game last week, we must be better at scoring the ball consistently. There were times where we look frazzled on the offensive end when Kansas switched to a zone, resulting in desperation 3’s late into shot clocks. They know and we know that will not fly in the Big 12 this season, especially in late game situations against a program of Kansas’ stature.
While this is not the way we wanted to start conference play, I still believe that we have a bright season ahead of us. Two starters go scoreless, you’re still missing another starter in Kevin McCullar and we still only managed to lose to Kansas by 1 (when we should have won). I have a strong feeling Chris Beard will have these guys firing on all cylinders sooner than later, starting with a good opportunity on Tuesday against Oklahoma. The Red Raiders are the better team, and should be hungry for a road win after tonight’s hard loss.