No. 15 Texas Tech falls at No. 23 Kansas 67-61

Red Raider Nation
Mac McClung

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) strips the ball from Texas Tech’s Mac McClung (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lubbock, Texas, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)

LAWRENCE, Kansas — No. 15 Texas Tech was back in action at No. 23 Kansas Saturday after 11 days off, and the Red Raiders looked more rusty than rested in a 67-61 loss. 

With the defeat, Texas Tech fell to 6-6 in Big 12 play, good for seventh place in the conference. 

Kansas has maintained a solid defense in what’s been a “down” year for the Jayhawks, and they executed Bill Self’s game plan against Texas Tech perfectly. The Red Raiders got 16 points from their usual top two scorers.

Mac McClung was held to 11 points, as he went against a defense dialed in to stop him every time down the floor. Kansas forced McClung to take tough shots, and he finished the game 4-13.

Terrence Shannon Jr. played just two minutes in the first half and scored five points, all coming in the second.

Micah Peavy scored 10 points, his most since Big 12 play began. He flew in on a backdoor cut for an alley-oop slam off of a dish from McClung in the first half. Marcus Santos-Silva and Kevin McCullar were the leading scorers with 12 points apiece. 

Every player in Kansas’ starting lineup finished with double-digit points. David McCormack led the way with 17.

The Jayhawks came out of the gates locked in on defense, taking a 10-2 early lead and holding Texas Tech to one field goal in the game’s first seven minutes. The Red Raiders stayed within striking range for most of the game, but never were able to put together a run strong enough to eclipse the Jayhawks’ lead. 

A big part of Kansas early success was big man David McCormack, who feasted on the inside for 12 first half points. McCormack is significantly bigger than anyone on Texas Tech’s roster, and he continuously got into good position around the rim. 

Marcus Santos-Silva, Texas Tech’s primary defensive option on McCormack, could not keep him from generating easy shots around the rim. He stayed out of foul trouble for most of the game, but picked up three fouls in the second half, and his fourth of the game with 4:36 remaining.

Texas Tech’s offense came around in that second half, but its issues shifted to the other side of the ball. Kansas penetrated the Red Raider defense on drives and played inside-out to generate open 3-pointers from the corner. Jalen Wilson and Ochai Agbaji each made two shots from that spot in the second half.

Agbaji’s second corner 3 of the half was instrumental in putting the Red Raiders away. Santos-Silva’s second put-back of the half cut Kansas’ lead to six points, but Marcus Garrett went at McClung for a floater on the ensuing possession. After a McClung miss, Christian Braun pulled down an offensive rebound and dished to Agbaji for the 3, which extended the Jayhawk lead to 11 points. 

A scoring flurry built off of free throws and a pair of 3s from Shannon and McCullar shaved the Jayhawk lead to three points with 44 seconds left, but a Braun 3-pointer put the game away for good.

It was another close loss for the Red Raiders in a season that’s produced many of them. They are 3-6 against the teams ahead of them in the Big 12 standings.

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