Here we are again with another tough and frustrating finish to a Red Raider basketball game. As a lifelong Tech fan, I always think the gut wrenching and annoying losses will go away. But it seems as if that may never be the case with the way this weekend went for men’s basketball; and baseball for that matter.
With a little under 14 minutes to go in the 2nd half, the Red Raiders had an 11 point lead and every bit of momentum. That is, until an odd sequence of events led to Clarence Nadolny receiving a technical foul for doing not just a whole lot. From that point on, it was basically all Cowboys the rest of the way. They went on a 14-0 run in a four minute period, sucking every bit of life out of Tech.
In what I believe was a major factor of the game, fouls were obviously not completely transparent in the 2nd half. Star guard Cade Cunningham received his 4th foul with 16:48 left in the 2nd half, one of only three against the team. Oklahoma State had three fouls called on them in the last 20 minutes - yes, only THREE, compared to Tech’s 16. I know we did a lot to ourselves to lose this game, but man did that benefit OSU down the stretch.
The reemergence of TJ Shannon was definitely felt throughout this game. While I could still sense he was not super healthy, he provided us with some big shots and plays towards the end of the game. Him and Mac led us in scoring with 18 and 17, with McCullar threw in 12 of his own. While he only ended with 8, I think MSS played a good game and helped us show some good paint presence throughout the contest.
Our biggest Achilles heel right now is not being able to have a consistent offense. Our defense played pretty well outside of rebounding, holding the Cowboys to 2-12 from three point range. McCullar has been great at giving us around 10 a game to compliment Shannon and McClung, but I really wish someone else would step up and do the same along with him.
So, where do we go from here? That’s a good question. I think Beard is going to need to have a hard nosed meeting with his guys and emphasize that what’s done, is done. There is a big opportunity looming on Saturday with UT coming to Lubbock in what could be a huge series sweep for us if we win. I am hoping that we will able to schedule a game or two after Texas, though I am not necessarily counting on that.
March is rapidly approaching and Texas Tech is not playing its best basketball right now. I am confident Chris Beard can get this thing figured out in time for us to have a good postseason. But with that being said, things need to be turned around ASAP. As it stands right now, we only have one more chance to prove ourselves before the postseason. The time is NOW for the Red Raiders, and a win against Texas would be a step in the right direction.