Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders have no trouble with Horned Frogs

Tuesday in Lubbock, the Texas Tech basketball team had no problem taking down TCU in a 69-49 blowout that wasn’t even that close.

Most games, when Mac McClung has two fouls and no points at halftime, the Texas Tech basketball team is going to be in trouble.  But though that was the stat line for the Red Raiders’ leading scorer after 20 minutes of play on Tuesday night against TCU, there was no cause for concern thanks to a huge half from junior Kyler Edwards.

Hitting six of his first seven shots in the opening stanza, Edwards ended the first half of play with 17 points to carry Tech to a 36-22 advantage at the intermission on the way to a 69-49 Red Raider walkover.   Finishing with 20 points, Edwards scored double-digits for the second-straight game and reached the 20-point mark for the first time this season.

Interestingly, he was the only player on either team to go over the 10-point mark.  Kevin McCullar and backup forward Tyreek Smith each added nine points for the Red Raiders while the Horned Frogs were led by guard RJ Nembhard who scored 10.

It was a rough night for Nembhard and Mike Miles, TCU’s two leading scorers.  Together, they entered the game averaging over 31 points per game but on Tuesday, they mustered just 12 between them.  What’s more, Miles, a true freshman who averages over 13 points per game, appeared to injure his right foot or ankle as he limped off the floor in obvious pain midway through the second half not to return.

It was refreshing to see the Red Raiders have a Big 12 game that was decided and put to bed long before the closing minutes.  And as the game entered the final ten minutes, the only drama centered around the newest Texas Tech basketball fan-favorite Vlad Goldin.

The seldomly-used 7-foot-1 true freshman from Russia made a cameo appearance in the first half and played with noticeable energy.  So in the second half, when the game was all but academic, the students began to chant for Goldin’s return.

Already with five players set to check into the game, Beard obliged the crowd and appeared to ask for a volunteer to give his spot to the big freshman.  It was Terrence Shannon who would step aside to let the crowd get their way and Goldin almost immediately make the move pay off by hitting a shot in the lane to send the crowd into a frenzy.

In all, it was the perfect way for Tech to begin this week that will see Beard’s team play three games in six days prior to next week’s Big 12 tournament.  The head coach was able to rest his regulars ahead of Thursday’s home tilt with Iowa State, which comes three days before the regular season concludes with a road game at No. 3 Baylor on Sunday.

Though dominating TCU is nothing to write home about, it was important for Tech to continue to play strong basketball and follow up Saturday’s impressive win over Texas with another positive effort and that’s exactly what transpired on Tuesday.

The calendar has now turned to March and it is time to start playing championship-caliber basketball.  And though beating TCU is not going to result in the hanging of a banner in the rafters, Tech did exactly what it needed to by dispatching one of the bottom feeders of the Big 12 while keeping plenty of energy in reserve for the trying week ahead.