Shorthanded Texas Tech basketball team fights valiantly in loss at Baylor

Playing without starting big man Warren Washington, the Texas Tech basketball team put forth a valiant effort in Tuesday night's loss to Baylor in Waco.
Feb 6, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Grant McCasland talks with team
Feb 6, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Grant McCasland talks with team / Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Winning at No. 13 Baylor was always going to be difficult for the Texas Tech basketball program. However, once it was announced about an hour before tip-off that starting forward Warren Washington would not play due to an illness, no one expected the Red Raiders to have much of a chance to topple the Bears on their own court.

Unfortunately, Tech wasn't able to pull out the unexpected win as Grant McCasland's team fell 79-73 to extend its current losing streak to three games. However, what Tech showed in defeat was a valiant effort.

Darrion Williams had his best game in weeks with 17 points and a pair of rebounds while Joe Toussaint scored 18 to lead the Red Raiders in scoring. Meanwhile, Chance McMillan had 15 points off the bench. However, he wasn't the story as it pertained to the Red Raider reserves.

With usual backup big man Robert Jennings having to start in Washington's place, the Red Raiders had to rely on a pair of seldom-used forwards to give them minutes in the post. With both KyeRon Lindsay and Eemeli Yalaho playing their first minutes in over a month, Tech was severely undermanned in the post, especially against Baylor's future NBA Draft pick Yves Missi who had 17 points and 7 rebounds in the winning effort.

However, at times, both Lindsay and Yalaho provided some brief moments of positivity. The sophomore, Lindsay, finished with two points, a pair of rebounds, and a blocked shot while the true freshman, Yalaho scored one point in his brief action while Jennings and Lindsay were both in foul trouble.

Ultimately, though, with no player over 6-foot-8 available to play, Tech was dominated inside. Baylor won the battle on the boards 33-24 and dominated the play inside.

That helped offset a night when the Bears, who entered the game shooting 41% as a team from 3-point range were just 5-18 (27.8%) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Tech was 9-22 (40.9%) as a team from deep.

The problem for Tech was that Baylor was able to keep a lid on the leading scorer in the conference during Big 12 play, Pop Isaacs. Limited to 11 points on just 4-12 shooting, the Red Raiders' leading scorer needed to have a big night to carry his team to the upset but he was unable to pull off the superhero act that we've seen from him in other games this year.

This was a game Tech never really had a shot to win. Without Washington's size in the post, Baylor was free to attack the rim with impunity and there was nothing McCasland could do about it.

The Red Raiders return to action Saturday in Lubbock against UCF hoping to end their three-game losing streak. Of course, if the full roster is available, that will go a long way in that pursuit.