After defeating two top-ten Big 12 teams in the span of four days, the Texas Tech men’s basketball team prepares for two games in three days, beginning with a home contest against Oklahoma State at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday in the United Supermarkets Arena.

On Wednesday, when asked about the last two wins in an availability ahead of the Red Raiders’ matchup against OSU, Tech’s head basketball coach Mark Adams said he’s trying to focus on the game in hand. 

“It really just reinforces our culture and what this program’s all about,” Adams said. “We’re just a bunch of guys that are fighters that come to work every day and believe in the ‘we not me’ and we’re continuing to reinforce that with being unselfish...”

Tech was originally scheduled to play against the Cowboys on New Year’s day for both teams’ conference opener, but the game was postponed due to health and safety protocols affecting the Cowboy’s roster, according to OSU Athletics.

Tech instead started inter-conference play with a loss to No. 11 Iowa State, rebounded with two upset victories, and now will face their first unranked opponent of the season in Oklahoma State. 

Last season, under former head coach Chris Beard, both matchups between Tech and OSU went to overtime and both resulted in a Red Raiders loss. 

On Tuesday, Tech upset the undefeated No.1 Baylor Bears in Waco by a score of 65-62. Super-senior guard Adonis Arms led the Red Raiders in scoring with 14 points and also hauled in a team-high nine rebounds.

After the win over Baylor, Arms said you’ve got to respect your opponents, but he looks at any game as if it’s just basketball.

“Since I was young it was always about having fun and playing basketball, '' Arms said. “Not really worrying about the venue or anything like that, just being with my teammates and coaching staff and having fun.”

Arms joined the Red Raiders as a graduate-student after averaging 10.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for Winthrop University in his senior year. 

Arms also averaged 10.4 PPG as a freshman at Mesa Community College but improved that figure to 13.3 PPG as a sophomore, prompting him to transfer to Northwest Nazarene University and average 20.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in the 2018-19 season.

After earning the 2019 Great Northwest Athletics Conference Player of the Year and GNAC Player of the Year with the NNU Nighthawks, Arms transferred to Winthrop but was a red-shirt for his first season.

Adams inserted Arms into the Red Raiders’ starting lineup after junior guard Terrence Shannon Jr, currently averaging a team-high 14.2 points per game, was benched at halftime of Tech’s win against Arkansas State on Dec. 14 due to back spasms. 

Shannon has yet to return to the court, and Arms is averaging 11 points in 31.1 minutes per game since his first start after Shannon’s injury. 

Adams was asked about how the win over Baylor affected the team’s mindset when playing without key players, and he said it goes back to culture and confidence in each other. 

“Whether we’re playing with six or seven or a full squad, we believe that we’ve got a system and a defensive scheme that works,” Adams said. “If we just go work the system and work hard at it then we’ll get positive results. 

According to Tech Athletics, an ankle injury sidelined redshirt-junior guard Kevin McCullar since Dec. 28, but he made a return to the floor against Baylor. In his first game of the season coming off the bench, McCullar scored 12 points on 5-8 shooting from the field. He tied Arms with a team-high five assists and hauled in six rebounds.

“I was really the bad guy. I was trying to talk Kevin (McCullar) out of playing because I didn’t think he was ready. But he wanted to get out and play, thank goodness because I thought Kevin was key.” Coach Adams said. “ … We probably played him too many minutes but still proud of him, he’s back in his boot today so he’s a little bit sore.”

Despite three consecutive ranked opponents to start Big 12 play, the Red Raiders earn two upset victories over top-ten teams. They play Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the USA.

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