LUBBOCK, Texas — It had been far from a perfect start to the season for Kyler Edwards.
The sophomore guard was shooting just 35.8 percent from the field going into Sunday’s game. His 24 percent from 3-point range was more than 20 percent worse than his figure last season.
Sunday, Edwards finally found his stroke. He made three straight 3-pointers early in the second half, turning Texas Tech’s two-point lead into 11. The Red Raiders would hold that lead for the rest of the game.
Edwards’ teammates and coaches see him in practice everyday and know what kind of shooter he can be, despite the low percentages. He credits them for helping him climb out of the slump.
“My teammates kept encouraging me the whole season and coaches never gave up,” Edwards said. “It feels good to finally see them go in.”
Beard’s confidence in Edwards never faltered, and that’s partially due to the mentality that Edwards maintained throughout his struggles.
“I like the way Kyler stayed the course,” Beard said. “Nobody’s worked as hard as Kyler. Nobody wants to win, nobody wants to make the shot as much as Kyler does… I have a lot of confidence in Kyler because I know he’s willing to do what we both want done.”
Edwards assumed a much larger role going into this season. He will not get the same opportunities that he did playing alongside players like Jarrett Culver and Matt Mooney. This year, he is one of the players that defenses focus on.
That hasn’t changed Edwards’ mindset. Even when he’s as hot as he was on Sunday, he takes what the defense gives him.
“I just played basketball,” he said. “If they came to me, if I was open, I was going to take the shot.”
Beard has been effusive in his praise of Bakersfield before and after the game. The Roadrunners hung right with Texas Tech for much of the game, and Edwards’ hot streak was instrumental in clinching the win.
“Tonight, when we needed it most, against who I think is the best team we’ve played in Lubbock this year, Kyler stepped up big,” Beard said.