Texas Tech basketball: Late no-call dooms Red Raiders vs. KU

Texas Tech's guard Pop Isaacs (2), left, falls during the game against Kansas in a Big 12 basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, at United Supermarkets Arena.
Texas Tech's guard Pop Isaacs (2), left, falls during the game against Kansas in a Big 12 basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, at United Supermarkets Arena. /

The Texas Tech basketball team fell to 0-2 in Big 12 play after falling to Kansas 75-72 in Lubbock Tuesday night.  Snapping the Red Raiders’ 29-game home winning streak, the Jayhawks held on despite a furious late-game rally from Mark Adams’ team.  There’s quite a bit to unpack from this frustrating outcome so let’s get to our quick reactions.

Tech was jobbed on the game-deciding possession

I try to avoid putting losses on the officiating but sometimes, that’s where the game is decided as was the case on Tuesday night.  That’s because a mind-boggling no-call from the officials proved to help KU seal the win.

With Tech down 73-72 in the closing seconds, Pop Isaacs drove the ball to the rim and in the ensuing action, the Jayhawks got away with two egregious fouls.  First, Kansas forward Jalen Wilson wrapped his arms around Daniel Batcho’s waist and simply pulled the Red Raider forward to the court.  No call.

Then, as Isaacs was driving into the paint, he was hip-checked by KU’s Bobby Pettiford Jr. knocking Isaacs to the floor.  No call.

In almost any situation other than the game’s deciding possession, either one of those plays by Kansas would have drawn a whistle.  Also, were the roles reversed and KU was trying to score the game-winning points in their home arena, all three officials would have blown their whistles simultaneously and with gusto and glee.

Some may look at the fact that Tech was eight more free throws than KU on the night as evidence of Tech getting the better of the officiating.  But when the game was on the line, the officials turned a blind eye to two Kansas fouls and that robbed the Red Raiders of an opportunity to win the game.

Is Batcho ok?

Adding injury to insult was the fact that, in the action directly after KU came up with the ball on the aforementioned no-call, Batcho took a hard spill while trying unsuccessfully to block the Jayhawks’ game-sealing dunk.  It appeared that as he tried to break his fall, Batcho injured a finger and as the training staff worked on him in the immediate aftermath, he appeared to be in significant pain.

We don’t yet know what Batcho’s injury is.  A dislocated finger will likely heal fairly quickly but a break or tear would essentially end Batcho’s season.

What we find out about Batcho in the upcoming days will likely determine whether Tech has a chance to be competitive in the Big 12 this year.  If the sophomore misses significant time, it is hard to envision this team being able to weather that storm given the team’s lack of size behind their starting big man.

We will all hold our breath until we find out from the Texas Tech basketball program what Batcho’s prognosis is.  And don’t forget that this injury is yet another unfortunate result that came from the lack of a whistle on the game-deciding possession.

Obanor carries Tech

It’s not a stretch to say that senior forward Kevin Obanor played his best game as a Red Raider on Tuesday.  Leading all scorers with 26 points, he almost willed his team to a comeback win.

Going 8-14 from the floor and grabbing seven boards while handing out two assists and blocking two shots, Obanor was the best player on the floor.  Tech needed that type of heroics from its veteran leader given that senior guard De’Vion Harmon scored only four points and Batcho, who is still dealing with the effects of an illness which has kept him from practicing and which has caused him to lose a significant amount of weight over the past week, added only six points.

While no one expects Obanor to pour in 20 or more points on a nightly basis, what we can hope is that he remains as aggressive on offense as he was against the Jayhawks.  Not just settling for outside shots, Obanor did work on the blocks and even drove the ball to the rim on several occasions.  That’s the type of offensive work he has to do each time out for this team to have a shot to win.

An unlikely 3-point weapon for KU

The Jayhawks got an unlikely performance from guard Dajuan Harris Jr. who scored a career-high 18 points, over ten points more than his season average.  Coming into the game with only six made threes on the year, he was intentionally allowed to shoot the ball from deep in the first half and he made the most of his opportunities.

For the game, Harris nailed all five of his three-pointers.  That was an unexpected turn and a huge reason why KU was able to jump out to a seven-point lead at the break.

Tech was unwilling to leave KU’s freshman sharpshooter, Grady Dick, with open shots so that meant that Adams and Co. were willing to let Harris be the open man and to Harris’ credit, he came through for his team.  Gotta tip your hat to the guy.  He was a huge reason for his team’s victory.


Making his return to Lubbock after transferring to KU this past offseason, Kevin McCullar Jr. was merely average, if that, on Tuesday.  Yes, he did hit a big shot late in the game to help keep his team in the lead but overall, he was a relative non-factor.

The only KU starter not to score in double digits, he had just seven points on 3-9 shooting.  What’s more, he played the fewest minutes of any Jayhawk starter (27).

Certainly, he was happy to get the win over his old school but his contributions were not why his team won.  He was largely a passenger.

For the year, he’s been solid averaging 11.5 points and 7.7 boards per game.  And certainly, his absence is felt on this year’s Red Raider squad.  But in his return to Lubbock, he was hard to notice at times, and ultimately, he was just another guy on the court rather than a difference-maker.