In a great Big 12 game that came down to the wire, the Red Raiders held their own and squeaked out a win over a talented Oklahoma squad. In a much better offensive output than the Kansas game, 3 starters scored in double figures. Terrence Shannon Jr. and Mac McClung continued to shine, while Marcus Santos-Silva also stepped up to have the biggest game of his short tenure thus far at Tech.
Santos-Silva and Shannon Jr. are the ones who carried the team throughout the extent of the game, with them scoring 18 and 21 respectively. But with under 3 minutes left in the game, both of them fouled out very shortly apart, prompting a finish from somebody else to seal the win. That guy ended up being Mac McClung, who made some very clutch free throws down the stretch and this insane layup between three defenders.
One surprising change in today’s game compared to the last several for Tech, is that Kyler Edwards was not in the starting lineup. In his first game off of the bench since the national championship game in April of 2019, the junior guard continued to struggle shooting the ball. While he still played 31 of the 40 game minutes, he only managed to go 1-4 from the field with 3 points for the night. You have to think if Edwards is ever able to figure out his offensive woes, it would truly be hard to beat the Red Raiders night in and night out. The talent is definitely there, just not the consistency. If we have hopes of making it far in the tournament this year, we will definitely have to get him going sooner than later.
I was pleased with the way we bounced back after a hard loss to Kansas five days ago. The ball movement on offense was much better than it has been, especially making sure that Santos-Silva was able to get more touches down low. The defense lacked at certain spots, but as a whole, they were able to play good enough on that end to win. The best aspect on defense was being able to contain Reaves & Manek, who were held to a combined 15 points. Even with Reaves hitting a 3 late and having a chance to tie the game in the last few seconds, the defense did well at making him get rid of the ball to someone else time and time again.
With the first two Big 12 road games now come and gone, the Red Raiders will not play in conference action again until January 2nd against Cade Cunningham and Oklahoma State. Next Tuesday they will be back in Lubbock, where they face the Incarnate Word Cardinals. The conference slate will be heating up quickly, so throwing in another non-con game should help in building some confidence (and hopefully allow us to get Kevin McCullar back).