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Texas Tech’s season comes to an end with heartbreaking loss to Arkansas

After the first-round win against Utah State, Texas Tech’s battle with a tough Razorback squad came up just short with a final of 68-66.

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

After arguably one of the best tournament games so far, Texas Tech’s season is officially over.

In what was an aggravating game in numerous ways, Tech found itself repeatedly down only one to four points, but just could not find a way to get over the hump. Although Arkansas deserves all the respect for a great win, you can’t help but realize the chances Tech missed.

TJ Shannon led the way in scoring with 20 points in what could have possibly been his final collegiate game. In what is still an uncertain future, there are some projections who have him being drafted in the second round of the NBA draft. Kyler Edwards and Kevin McCullar played well on both ends of the floor, with each scoring in double figures and grabbing eight boards apiece.

Chris Beard was visibly choked up in the post-game presser after the loss. He explained how hard his guys worked to get here in such a challenging year and how he loved every single one of them. It just goes to show the relationships that are built in the gym can go way beyond basketball.

Chibuzo Agbo played the biggest 11 minutes of his young career, also chipping in with two big threes in the final minutes. While some people were confused as to why he was playing so much in the late part of the second half, I believe Beard threw him out there as a guy Arkansas had to respect at the 3-point line. I’m hoping Agbo will use this game time as a great experience to learn and grow so he can have a more increased role on next year’s squad.

Razorback forward Justin Smith killed Tech in nearly facet of the game yesterday and was a large reason we were unable to ever take a second half lead. He had a very efficient finishing stat line of 20 and 6, going 9-11 from the field. Moses Moody and Davonte Davis also had 15 points a piece to help lead the Razorbacks along with Smith.

Offseason questions and thoughts

With the offseason upon the Red Raiders, there are definitely some intriguing headlines that are flying around the program. Coach Beard’s name has been swirling around for other jobs in college basketball, namely the opening at Indiana. While I do not believe he would leave for the job, it’s still an interesting situation as the Vegas odds had him as the head candidate just a few days ago.

Guys such as Shannon, McClung and Silva will have some thinking to do in terms of the path they want to take for their future. In reality, I believe Shannon is the only one who currently has a shot at being drafted. Even then, I still think he could benefit from another year playing in college.

This year’s team battled a lot of offensive issues throughout the year that really hurt the team in numerous games. Possibly adding in another year of aging/growing with this group of players, with the addition of freshman stud Jaylon Tyson, and I believe those same problems will be a fraction of what they were this season.

All around, I am pleased with the year the Red Raiders had. While I would have been happier making it to the second weekend of the tournament, this squad played a hell of a game against a good Arkansas team. I know that Coach Beard will have a strong fire burning inside to get his team further along than they got this year, and I’m ready to witness what the program will have in store for us when that time comes.

In the meantime, let’s go make another trip to Omaha!