This past Saturday, Texas Tech won its first Men’s Basketball game this calendar year by a score of 76-68 in Baton Rouge over the LSU Tigers in the final chapter of the Big 12/SEC challenge, in which the Big 12 won, 7-3.
Tonight, at 8 p.m. the Red Raiders will look to try and replicate that result against one of the three losers from Saturday, Iowa State, who lost at Missouri 78-61, no doubt a result they are not pleased with.
Tech, on the other hand, found the win column for the first time since December 27th, against SC State, a game they won 110-71. The Red Raiders will be itching to get that first conference W against a team that -let’s be honest- boat raced them in Ames by 34.
To get this done, the Red Raiders need a solid shooting performance like they got in Baton Rouge on Saturday (46% from the field, 61% from deep) and that starts with guys like Kevin Obanor and Kerwin Walton.
Obanor finished the game Saturday with 22 points, while Walton was 5-of-6 from deep plus another FG, for a total of 17 points. Devion Harmon added 14 points and 8 assists as well.
It also boils down to the fact that the Red Raiders have to defend better from the 3 point line. Last time in Ames, the Cyclones shot 49% from the floor and 55% from behind the arc. Giving up shots at that percentage will not result in a win in this league, plain and simple.
On Saturday, Tech was without freshman phenom Pop Isaacs, and top senior transfer Fardaws Aimaq, as they were both injured in the game against West Virginia last Wednesday. Both appear to be game time decisions in tonight’s contest.
Notably, Iowa State has been mediocre on the road this year, just 2-4 away from Hilton Coliseum. They have 3 players averaging double digits in points in Gabe Kalscheur, Jaren Holmes, and Caleb Grill. Kalscheur had 25 against the Red Raiders in Ames earlier this month.
If Tech is to knock off one of the top Big 12 teams, the effort will need to be consistent in all facets of the game- they looked better Saturday only turning the ball over 11 times against LSU, turnovers have been a major issue for this team all season, especially Big 12 play.
The Red Raiders have also struggled mightily in the 2nd half of conference games this year only outscoring Kansas, Baylor, and Oklahoma -all home games- however, they were down at half and ended up losing all three.
I think this game is probably is the tell all game for this squad this season. How do they respond to a win? How do they play against a team that is at the top of the league and also beat them by 34 last time? Can the defense tighten up? Can they play a full 40 minutes? I think we saw the best version of this team against LSU, can it be sustained?
Will Tech get that ever elusive conference win? We’ll find out.
Texas Tech vs. Iowa State
Monday, January 30th
United Supermarkets Arena
8:00 p.m. ESPN2, 97.3 FM