Texas Tech basketball: Players that need to step up against Iowa State

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Head coach Chris Beard of the Texas Tech Red Raiders (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

When the Texas Tech basketball team takes on Iowa State this afternoon, the following Red Raiders need to step up in order to help their team secure the victory.

The No. 23 Texas Tech basketball team returns home this afternoon looking to move to 3-2 in Big 12 play.  The opponent will be the Iowa State Cyclones, a program that has won two of its last three games in Lubbock.

Back in 2017, the first year of the Chris Beard era, Tech struggled to close out games.  That was the case in an 82-80 overtime home loss to Iowa State.

With the game tied at the half and obviously at the end of regulation, it came down to one final possession for the Red Raiders.  But after rebounding an ISU free throw miss with just under seven seconds to play, the Red Raiders couldn’t get off a shot at the other end of the court before time expired as they played a game of hot potato in one of the worst final possessions in college basketball history.

Niem Stevenson led the Red Raiders with 17 points that day.  Meanwhile, both Zach Smith and Justin Gray added 16 points and Keenan Evans was good for 10.

Last season, ISU picked up a 68-64 victory in Lubbock on a night when Tech was just 5-12 at the free-throw line.  It was the only home loss all season for Chris Beard.

In fact, he’s lost just six times in the Hub City since taking the reins and a third of those setbacks have come against the Cyclones.  Thus, the boys from Ames will not fear what awaits them today inside the U.S.A.

In what has been a rather competitive all-time series, ISU holds a 20-15 lead.  But in Lubbock, the Red Raiders hold a 12-7 edge.

One question that Red Raider fans have is the status of freshman Terrence Shannon Jr., who has missed the last two games with a stiff back.  In his pre-game press conference on Thursday, Beard gave an update on the status of the Chicago native.

“T.J.’s right there,” he said.  “We expect him to practice today.  I think…he really wanted to play and probably could have played in a limited role in Manhattan [on Tuesday night] but it’s just coaching decisions, trying to get him back to 100% or as close as we can.”

Another player on the minds of Tech fans has been Kyler Edwards.  After a career-high 24 points against Kansas State, everyone in Scarlet and Black is hoping that the sophomore is ready to be a leading offensive option the way we envisioned him being given that he was one of only two returning players from last season’s 8-man rotation.

“It was great to see the ball go in for Kyler,” Beard said.  “I thought he took great shots.  I thought his great night started with great shot selection.  He only forced one shot in my opinion.  He had one of his better assist nights.  So that balance between looking to pass and looking to score always opens up the basket for you.”

But there are some players that we need to see take their games to a higher level than they have in recent games.  That’s because the way life in the Big 12 goes, we never know if Edwards will be able to carry his team on his shoulders again and there’s no question that even if he’s on his game, he’s going to need support from his teammates like he got Tuesday night. So let’s look at some Red Raiders that need to take their games to a higher level against Iowa State.

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