Saturday, the Texas Tech basketball team rattled off 12 unanswered points in the final minute to stun LSU 76-71.
This year’s version of Texas Tech basketball is not good for our health. But they sure are can’t-miss tv.
Embroiled in another tight game on Saturday, this time against LSU in Baton Rouge, the Red Raiders rattled off 12-straight points to stun the Tigers 76-71 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. And once again, it was Mac McClung who came riding to the rescue.
With his team trailing 71-64, he drained back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Tech to within 71-70. Then, following his second of those clutch makes, he came up with a deflection on the LSU inbounds pass to tip the ball right to Terrence Shannon, who gathered it and nailed the game-winning layup through contact. After that, Shannon would seal the game with four free throws allowing the Red Raiders to escape with a win in a game that looked all but over with just 1:14 to play.
For the second time this year, McClung saved the day on the road. Though Saturday’s heroics won’t make the rounds on social media like his game-winning shot against Texas did, his efforts to down the Tigers were no less clutch.
Finishing with 22 points on 7-15 shooting (3-7 from 3-point range), he sparked Tech on a night when no other starter would add more than 10 points to the Red Raiders’ total. Thankfully, the Red Raider bench was able to take up the slack.
Mainly, it was Terrence Shannon Jr. who helped carry the Red Raiders to a 28-2 edge in bench scoring. The sophomore came alive in the second half on his way to a team-high 23 points, including the game-winning bucket with 29 seconds to play.
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Meanwhile, LSU would fall oddly silent in the game’s closing moments. After Shareef O’Neal tipped in a shot to put his team ahead 71-64, the home-standing squad would go 0-2 from the field and 0-1 from the free-throw line while also committing a turnover over the course of their final five possessions.
This was a crucial win for the Red Raiders. Not only will beating an 11-5 LSU team on the road be a huge feather in their cap come Selection Sunday, but it should also help ease the pain of losing to West Virginia in the final ten seconds on Monday night.
Though Tech fans would have rather won the WVU game given that it was a Big 12 game, the fact was that Tech needed to go 1-1 this week to help steady the ship ahead of a tough two-week stretch coming up.
Tech next faces Oklahoma on Monday in Lubbock. The Sooners beat No. 9 Alabama in Norman on Saturday and will likely be ranked in the top 20 when next week’s polls are released.
Then, after Tech travels to Manhattan to face Kansas State, back-to-back games with No. 11 West Virginia in Lubbock and No. 2 Baylor in Waco will test the Red Raiders mightily. Thus, beating LSU helped ensure that Chris Beard’s team will enter that gauntlet on a positive note and helped prevent any thought of a possible losing streak. And we have Mac McClung to thank.
Quickly, the Georgetown transfer is proving to be an all-time fan favorite and one of the most clutch players in the NCAA. He proved that again on Saturday by taking over down the stretch in a game that certainly had Red Raider fans fearing that another loss in a close game was imminent. But so long as McClung is wearing the Scarlet and Black, Tech fans won’t be quick to turn off any contest. And those that hung around for the final moments on Saturday were certainly rewarded for their belief.