Wed, 10 Aug 2022

Unbeaten Texas Tech gets first real test at Providence

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2021, 13:40 GMT+10

Texas Tech has blazed through a less-than-glossy early schedule without a loss or much resistance, as the six opponents have combined for a 5-37 record.

Now things get a little more challenging for the Red Raiders (6-0) with an 18-day stretch featuring three high-profile games, starting with a road trip to the East Coast to face Providence on Wednesday as part of the Big East-Big 12 Battle.

The Friars (6-1) have been tested much more so far, with a pair of wins against Big Ten Conference opponents (Wisconsin, Northwestern) and their only loss coming against Virginia last week.

Providence is coming off an impressive offensive performance on Saturday in an 85-71 triumph against Saint Peter's which was spearheaded by Noah Horchler. He connected on his first nine floor shots on the way to a 25-point, 11-rebound effort.

"When you're having one of these days and the basket looks like the ocean, the players have to see that and try to give it to the player as much as we can," Friars coach Ed Cooley said.

As a team, Providence clicked on all cylinders with 64.1 percent shooting overall, 6 for 13 from 3-point range and 29 of 31 at the free-throw line.

There was a sour note to the win: The Friars finished the day without three players who been part of the regular rotation so far. Justin Minaya and Brycen Goodine missed the game with illness, while Jared Bynum landed awkwardly on his foot in the first half and never returned. He was in a walking boot afterward.

"We've got to get healthy really quick," Cooley said. "We're really banged up right now."

Texas Tech has endured similar trials and played the last two games without starting guard Kevin McCullar, out with a non-COVID illness. First-year coach Mark Adams said the senior is expected to be ready for Wednesday.

A roster restocked through the transfer portal has given the Red Raiders more depth than they have had in recent years. One of those transfers is Kevin Obanor, and he was a spark Saturday with a season-best 20 points in an 89-57 thumping of Lamar.

Obanor emerged as a star for Oral Roberts during the 2021 NCAA Tournament and scored 17 points in this year's season opener. But he had not cracked double digits since then until three 3-pointers and a 5-for-5 day at the foul stripe led to his first 20-point game for Texas Tech.

"It's never about being too high or too low," Obanor said. "It's about maintaining. I came out and played a lot better (Saturday). That's a tribute to my teammates and coaches. They kept me level-headed and focused."

Terrence Shannon Jr. cranked in four 3s and scored 15 points, while Bryson Williams notched 16 points in the Red Raiders' fifth win in a row by 22 points or more. Texas Tech is averaging 88.3 points a game, which leads the Big 12 Conference.

--Field Level Media

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