In the Red Raiders first game in over 10 days, it was obvious the team had some rust to shake off. Kansas was in control of the game from start to finish, as they were the team who seemed more prepared to win. With what appeared to be a gimpy TJ Shannon, I knew that points would be hard to come by if he was not 100%.
Just as Beard stated in his postgame, I believe we had some good individual performances throughout the contest. But there were also guys that did not play well or as good as we know that they can. MSS and McCullar led the way with 12 a piece, while McClung and Peavy followed with 11 and 10.
With the combination of Shannon being not fully healthy and the KU defense honing in on Mac, nobody else was really able to spark the offense the way we needed it. Even with four starters in double figures, we still only managed to score 61 points. For us to be able to go far at all in the rest of conference play or into March, we NEED Shannon healthy for us.
I believe with everything in me that if Kyler Edwards ever finds a way to consistently gives us 10-15 it would be incredibly hard to beat us, but he has yet to really do that. He only took four shots yesterday in a game where Shannon and McClung combined for 16 points. When he gets the ball, I think he could be a little more assertive or aggressive and in return it would help himself and the team as a whole.
On a brighter note from yesterday’s contest, the team defense was improved from the West Virginia outing. Though I will say the Jayhawks missed quite a few good looks from three point range, we held them to relatively low shooting percentages and under 70 points. The only guy that really had our number all day was McCormack, who dumped in 17 points and started 7-7 from the floor.
The Red Raiders now have a quick turnaround before heading into Stillwater to play the Cowboys on Monday night. In what is not necessarily a must win for postseason hopes, I believe it is a must win if we want to have any hopes of climbing back into the top half of the Big 12. The last thing we need to do is be swept by 3 opponents in the conference race, especially if want a chance at winning the Big 12 tournament (if it ends up being played).
In our first matchup against Oklahoma State, it was quite possibly our toughest loss of the season outside of the road game at WVU. Tech rallied to send it to OT and then ended up running out of gas at the end. The Cowboys had 4 guys score between 13-17 points and that ended up being the difference.
If Texas Tech hopes to win tomorrow night, they must contain Cunningham from having a monster game and defending the three point line throughout. The Cowboys are guard heavy and can shoot the three at will, and the last thing we need with a hurt TJ Shannon is a shootout on the road. Though I am hoping we are able to power through and win tomorrow, it will be just as tough as any other night in the Big 12.