Texas Tech basketball: Rusty Red Raiders no match for streaking KU

Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas, the Texas Tech basketball team fell to Kansas 67-61 in a game that looked as if the Red Raiders were rusty after a long layoff.

Playing for the first time in eleven days, the Texas Tech basketball team looked on Saturday like a team that had no seen live action since February 9th.  Appearing disjointed and out of sorts all afternoon, especially on the offensive end of the floor, the Red Raiders were no match for a streaking KU team that has now won five games in a row.

In the 67-61 loss, Tech shot a decent 40.7% from the field but just 31.3% (5-16) from the 3-point line.  And unfortunately, it was the team’s biggest stars who were the most out of sorts.

Leading scorer Mac McClung was harassed and double-teamed nearly all day by the swarming KU defense.  As a result, he was just 4-14 from the field on his way to 11 points, over six points below his season average.  But that was more than Tech got from its second-leading scorer on the season.

Perhaps still hobbled some by a sprained ankle that was sustained prior to Tech’s 11-day layoff, Terrence Shannon Jr. scored just 5 points on 2-5 shooting.  In fact, for much of the afternoon, it appeared as if the sophomore, who averages over 13 points per game, might not be a factor at all.  Playing only two minutes in the first half of the game, the Chicago native looked like he might not play again after his first-half cameo.

But, to his credit, he tried his best to give it a go in the second half.  However, he was unable to make his usual impact leaving the Red Raiders scrambling to fill his shoes.

In fact, by getting only 16 points from McClung and Shannon, Tech got 27 points fewer from its top two scorers than it got in this season’s first meeting with Kansas when that duo combined for 43 points.

Meanwhile, Kansas didn’t suffer the same fate as the Jayhawks’ best player as of late, David McCormack, continued his stellar play.  The 6-foot-10 forward was dominant on the blocks with 17 points and 8 rebounds.  It was the eighth time in his last night games that he has gone for at least 12 points.

He was part of an offensive attack that saw every KU starter score at least ten points.   The Jayhawks’ scoring leader on the season, Ochai Agbaji, was solid with 14 points while Jalen Wilson notched 11 points and both defensive ace Marcus Garrett and sharpshooter Christian Braun added 10.

This is a game that Tech never led and never really threatened until the closing minute when the Red Raiders briefly cut the deficit to 64-61.  Falling behind early by the count of 10-2, Tech was rarely able to cut the home team’s lead to fewer than six points until desperation time as Kansas was in control of this game from the tip.

The loss is the Red Raiders’ second-straight overall and it drops Tech to 14-7 and just 6-6 in Big 12 play.  Hopefully, this lackluster performance was just a product of rust and not a sign that this team is regressing.  But one thing is for sure, with March quickly approaching, it is time for the Red Raiders to get their act together.