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Postgame Report: #18 Texas Tech vs. Iowa State

McClung stars in a blowout win, but student-manager Ty Larson steals the show

Photo CC: Texas Tech Athletics

This was a bit of an odd game, featuring both some sloppy play and excellent teamwork from the Red Raiders. Also, the Cyclones were still very much in the game into the early parts of the second half thanks to Tech getting a bit complacent, yet the Red Raiders completely ran away with the game from there.

It bears mentioning that this is a very bad ISU team that was missing their best player. This game therefore probably shouldn’t have been as close as it was for as long as it was. The Red Raiders turned it on late and turned the game into the rout it was supposed to be.

Kyler Edwards’ hot streak continued in this game, as Edwards went 4-5 from the field. It cannot be overstated how much better the team is when Kyler is hitting his shots. He couldn’t have picked a better time to get it going and resume the high-level play he’s proven capable of in prior years. Mac McClung had been a bit of a spectator to Edwards’ great play the past few games, but not last night. McClung took over in the second half, notching multiple and-1s. One play in particular exemplified his hustle, as ISU tried to get a quick extra pass by McClung that would have set up a wide-open three. McClung jumped it, batted it forward for himself, and ended up schooling a defender with a reverse layup.

Better yet for the Red Raiders was the scoring balance, as three more Tech players also scored in double digits. Texas Tech has begun playing better as a team of late. Micah Peavy and Kevin McCullar partnered on a pair of early alley-oops that were the definition of unselfish play. Shannon, Jr. posterized a few Cyclones on emphatic dunks and appears to be over the earlier injuries. Santos-Silva was patient and effective underneath, and hit both of his free throws to tally 14 points to go with 7 boards and 2 blocks.

The bench was led by Tyreek Smith and Clarence Nadolny in terms of minutes. Smith put together a nice game and didn’t miss a shot, going 1-1 from the floor and 2-2 at the free throw line. His biggest impact, though, was on the glass where he nabbed six rebounds in only twelve minutes. Nadolny went 0-3 from the floor, but made three of five free-throws. Chibuzo Agbo showed off his touch on a nice baseline jumper, but that was all for his day. Avery Benson showed his typical hustle and posted a rebound, an assist, a steal, and a block in limited action. The story of the day, however, was student manager Ty Larson, who not only suited up, but took a charge in true Chris Beard basketball.

Less effective was Vladislav Goldin, who arguably entered too early in the game when the student section demanded it. While the students’ adoration for Vlad is fun, it appeared that Iowa State justifiably took issue with the modicum of disrespect that the move entailed. ISU found some fire and fought their way back into the game. Goldin has potential for a bright future, but doesn’t yet appear reliable or polished enough to go into the game early. The excitement from the crowd to see him in action in the last home game against an overmatched opponent is understandable. It’s just not quite his time yet.

Ultimately, Texas Tech took care of business against a sub-par team and will finish the regular season with losses that only came to elite teams. As of this writing, Texas Tech is #18 and all of its losses have come to teams that are ranked higher than the Red Raiders. This speaks to the incredible overall quality of the Big XII. Sunday will bring a big matchup against Baylor that could theoretically affect Big XII tournament seeding. Texas Tech can somewhat rest easy knowing that they’re comfortably in the NCAA tournament field at this point. They will also finish the regular season with a winning record in the nation’s best conference. Red Raider fans are deservedly getting excited about the possibility of a good postseason run. This Texas Tech team is finally playing to its potential.

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