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Men’s Basketball Player of the Week: Kevin McCullar

Photo CC: Nexstar

The Texas Tech men’s basketball team had a week for the history books while winning both of their Big 12 games. The first was a matchup that had been circled on calendars for not only the team but fans for exactly 10 months. Chris Beard returned to Lubbock for the first time since departing the program on April 1st, 2021. The hype leading up to the game garnered just as much if not more attention than any other game so far this year in the entire country. Luckily for Texas Tech, the game lived up to the hype and more. The Red Raiders pounced on Texas early, feeding off the energy of the sold-out home arena, and cruised to a 13-point victory. In what easily could have been a let-down spot, the team then traveled across the country to West Virginia to face the Mountaineers. Tech entered with a 1-8 all-time record in Morgantown. After a slow start, the Red Raiders dug deep and pulled out a physical 60-53 victory. 

It’s only fitting that Kevin McCullar led the team in points while posting his Big 12 season-high against his old coach and Texas. He finished the game with 19 points and six rebounds, his highest in both categories during conference play. He did all this while attempting just seven field goals, but found himself at the line 15 times, sinking 12 of the attempts. 

McCullar has taken a backseat in the scoring department here recently with so many capable scorers on the team. However, during this stretch he has played stellar defense, his best of any season according to Sports Reference defensive win shares metric. On offense, his usage has increased from last year, along with his assist percentage, helping the team in ways other than putting the ball in the basket. Against West Virginia, McCullar was just one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 10 points and nine boards. He snapped a 1-10 three-point shooting skid as well, going 2-5 from beyond the arc while posting back-to-back double-digit scoring performances for the first time in Big 12 play. 

Next up for the team, they travel to Norman on Wednesday to face an Oklahoma team desperate for a win being 1-7 in their last eight. On Saturday, the Red Raiders host TCU who has vastly improved from last year and currently leads the country in offensive rebound percentage. Texas Tech is currently one game back from Kansas in the Big 12 with eight games remaining. 

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