The Red Raiders snap an 0-8 start to their conference slate to pick off the Cyclones in Lubbock. PIC: Michael C. Johnson, USA Today Sports
It's been a rough year for Mark Adams' Texas Tech Red Raiders. They opened the year at #25 in the AP Top 25 Poll, climbed only two points to #23 after winning their first two against Northwestern State and Texas Southern, and then hit a white-hot Creighton at an MTE in Hawaii. They soon after lost to Ohio State, then won six straight against sub-150 KenPom teams.
Then came the fall from grace.
It's been 8 straight losses against Big 12 opponents for Texas Tech. They've kept it close in many of them; a 3-point loss to Kansas, an overtime heartbreaker against Oklahoma, and couldn't withstand the second half comeback from Texas to lose by 2 at the Moody Center. After Iowa State took them to the woodshed in Ames just weeks ago, the Red Raiders couldn't afford to roll over. And although the early stages of Monday's game certainly look like they would do just that, they gave Lubbock life again.
Texas Tech, down 59-36 with 12:38 remaining in the second half, overcame the deficit to force overtime, and eventually beat the Cyclones 80-77 after the extra five. They tied the largest comeback by any D1 team this year, and also tied the same comeback to beat a ranked team over the past ten years.
Of course, we love a win probability graph. Iowa State was shown at a whopping 99.6%...if only they knew what we did.
It was a night to remember for Kevin Obanor, who became a college hoops household name two years ago when he - along with Max Abmas - led #15-ranked Oral Roberts to a victory over #2 seed Ohio State in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Obanor registered 24 points and 13 rebounds.
The Red Raiders are only a year removed from losing two key cogs in their offense: high-octane guard Terrence Shannon Jr., who left for Brad Underwood & Illinois, and wing forward Kevin McCullar, who now calls Kansas home. Many questioned how Texas Tech would stack up this year; pundits didn't know how quickly Oregon transfer De'Vion Harmon would adjust as the TTU point guard, how Jaylon Tyson would perform thrusted into a starting role after barely seeing the floor at Texas, and the promise of freshman Pop Isaacs. Sure, they've had their struggles, but they've also had their successes.
Monday night is a game the Lubbock faithful will look back on for a long time.