Tuesday night, for the second straight game, the Texas Tech basketball team took on a top 10-opponent while missing its leading scorer Terrence Shannon Jr. And for the second-straight game Mark Adams’ team came up with an upset that stunned the college basketball world, this time by beating No. 1 Baylor 65-62 in Waco.
Despite trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half, Tech was able to hand the Bears their first loss of the year and snap Baylor’s 21-game winning streak. It marked the second time in the last three seasons that Tech has taken down the No. 1 team in the NCAA following 2019’s victory over No. 1 Louisville in New York City. Those are the only two times in program history that Tech has ever upset the nation’s top team.
With 14 points, Adonis Arms led a balanced Red Raider scoring attack that saw four of five starters score between 11 and 14 points. Meanwhile, guard Kevin McCullar Jr. came off the bench to score 12 points after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury.
In the first half, Baylor jumped out to leads of 9-0 and 31-16 in part because the Bears shot 5-10 from 3-point range. But from the point that Baylor held its biggest lead of the game with 6:13 to play in the first half, the Red Raiders would outscore the Bears 49-31 for the remainder of the contest.
Ramping up the defensive intensity after the intermission, Tech was able to hold Baylor to just 3-10 from downtown and just 11 field goals overall in the second half. And along the way, there were some unsung heroes that stepped up in huge moments.
Most noticeable of all was Marcus Santos-Silva who finished with no points or rebounds but who blocked two shots and who had the defensive play of the night. With Tech leading by three points on Baylor’s final possession, the Red Raider forward found himself in a one-on-one situation on the perimeter with Baylor’s leading scorer, James Akinjo, a dynamic guard who averages over 14 points per game on the season.
But as Akinjo frantically tried to shake free from Santos-Silva, he had nowhere to go until he was forced into hoisting up a desperation three-pointer that clanged off the rim at the buzzer. It was a brilliant defensive effort from the Red Raider super-senior who also made some key plays in Saturday’s win over Kansas, including a late blocked shot, to help the Red Raiders preserve that victory as well.
Meanwhile, don’t overlook the two massive free throws that Davion Warren hit in the closing minutes. With Tech leading just 63-62 with 20 seconds to play, Warren calmly drained two clutch foul shots to give his team some much-needed breathing room. Those were Warren’s only points of the night but they came at the most critical of moments.
Securing this win without Shannon being able to play, the Red Raiders once again have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12 and on the national scene. And they are continuing to validate the notion that Adams was more responsible for the culture that Texas Tech has built over the past five years than most on the national scene ever wanted to believe as he’s guided his team to consecutive top-10 wins to shake up the landscape of the Big 12.
In other words, the street dog mentality is alive and well in Lubbock Texas. And on Saturday night, a pack of rabid street dogs took down the nation’s top team in their own backyard.