Texas Tech basketball: The top 25 Red Raiders in the Big 12 era

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 08: Jarrett Culver #23 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates the play against the Virginia Cavaliers in the second half during the 2019 NCAA men's Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 08, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 08: Jarrett Culver #23 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates the play against the Virginia Cavaliers in the second half during the 2019 NCAA men's Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 08, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
12 of 25
Next
Apr 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders forward Tariq Owens (11) celebrates after dunking the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers in the championship game of the 2019 men’s Final Four at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders forward Tariq Owens (11) celebrates after dunking the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers in the championship game of the 2019 men’s Final Four at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 14: Tariq Owens

It’s only fitting that Tariq Ownes and Matt Mooney go back-to-back on this list.  After all, they were the two grad transfers that Chris Beard brought to Lubbock to fortify the team that would eventually reach the 2019 National Title Game.

But Owens ranks one spot higher because he was the most unique player on that year’s team.  At 6-foot-11 and with the ability to leap out of the gym, he set the program record for blocks in a season with 92.

The former St. John’s big man was also a nice offensive weapon.  He averaged 8.7 points to go along with 5.8 rebounds as he gave Tech a presence in the middle that most Red Raider squads have lacked.

But it was his defense that made Owens a Tech legend.  With an ability to come from anywhere on the court to alter or block shots, he was the reason why that year, Tech had arguably the best defense that anyone had seen in the modern era of the sport.  And it was a defensive play that he will be most remembered for.

In Tech’s victory over Gonzaga in the Elite 8, Owens came up with a late block of a Rui Hachimura 3-pointer.  He then corraled the ball and saved it from going out of bounds by pitching it to a teammate in a play that ultimately turned the momentum of that contest.

One game later though, Owens would turn his ankle in the Final Four game against the Spartans and that would render him just a shell of his usual self for the National Title Game.  Ask any Red Raider and we will tell you that had Owens been at full strength for that final game, Tech would have beaten Virginia to win it all.  But regardless, the contributions that Tariq Owens made in his one year as a Red Raider were enough to warrant inclusion on this list and they made him a player that won’t soon be forgotten in Lubbock.