Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders adjust to life without Cambridge; beat ORU

Texas Tech's guard Joe Toussaint (6) shoots the ball against Oral Roberts in a non-conference
Texas Tech's guard Joe Toussaint (6) shoots the ball against Oral Roberts in a non-conference / Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY
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Robert Jennings makes strides for Texas Tech off the bench

With Walton now in the starting lineup and with Tech needing to replace Cambridge's size in the rotation, sophomore Robert Jennings got the opportunity to crack the rotation. While he certainly had an up-and-down night, he did seem to show signs of progress in what was his first significant action of the year.

Playing ten minutes, he scored six points and grabbed an impressive eight rebounds. That type of productivity from the 6-foot-7 forward on a game-by-game basis would be more than welcomed by this coaching staff.

Previously, his season high in minutes was nine in the opener and his highest scoring output had been two points, also in the season's first game. In fact, he had not scored again until Tuesday night.

It could have been a much better game from Jennings, though. Going just 2-9 from the field, he left a lot of meat on the bone with his performance.

On at least four occasions, Jennings missed point-blank shots that he will need to convert with more regularity. No one is going to ask him to carry this team's scoring load but in Big 12 play, when games often come down to one or two possessions, his ability to convert layups and put-backs into points could be the difference in a win or a loss.

It was telling that Jennings was the only reserve forward to play in this game. True freshman Eemeli Yalaho and sophomore KyeRon Lindsay both stayed on the bench all night. That was surprising, especially in Lindsay's case given that he had his redshirt pulled last week in the game against Omaha. Why do that if he isn't going to be part of the regular rotation this year?

Maybe we will see some action for those two young players in upcoming games but on Tuesday, Jennings was the bench player who benefitted the most from Cambridge's absence. Fortunately, he showed signs of being able to contribute, especially on the glass, because Tech will need him to step up now that there is a need for a new backup big man to emerge.