In the midst of another close battle, the Red Raiders were struggling to find their way on offense from all aspects. The ball was sticking much too often, shots were not falling and your leading scorer could not score from anywhere other than the free throw line. With a little under 4 minutes to go, McCullar and Shannon hit 2 massive 3’s on back to back possessions to finally provide some breathing room.
Sure enough, Oklahoma came storming back with a quick 7-0 run where it ended up turning into another nailbiter. Just in conference play alone this season, the Red Raiders have had 5 games decided by 5 points or less, so we are no stranger to this kind of scenario. Regardless, Tech buckled down and did what they had to do to take down a scorching hot Sooner team, even if it was ugly.
As I mentioned earlier, Mac McClung just had a completely off night. Though some of it was the OU defense smothering him, he just could not find the bottom of the net. He struggled mightily as he finished with only 6 points, all of which coming from the free throw line. McCullar and Shannon both picked up the offensive slack, leading the team with 13 and 15 points respectively.
With nights like these showing as proof, I truly believe Kevin McCullar has solidified himself as the most solid and consistent player on our team night in and night out. He will always provide you in the neighborhood of 10/7/3, and has shown the ability to pop off for 15+ if need be.
A great addition to the recent rotation is Clarence Nadolny. He played his career high in minutes tonight with 15, and chipped in 5 points of his own. If he is consistently able to give us around 10 energy packed minutes per game, that can be huge for us going down the stretch of Big 12 play. Him and Avery Benson are similar players, but at this point I like what I am seeing from Nadolny more in the rotation.
After giving up 87 and 71 the past two games, the Red Raider defense showed its teeth tonight against the Sooners. Tech was able to hold them to 33% from the field and 27% from the 3, a large reason why we were allowed to escape our own poor offensive night. Our big men Santos-Silva and Tyreek Smith both did better jobs when tasked with switching on to an OU guard, and that ended up helping in the long run.
The guys now have a needed 4 day break before heading to Manhattan to face the lowly Wildcats. In what I am hoping is a game that Tech uses to polish up for two games against West Virginia and Baylor to follow, I know that K-State has absolutely nothing to lose. As long as we are able to play the same sound defense we did tonight and our scorers find their feet again, it should be a favorable matchup for the Red Raiders.