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Men's basketball loses tight battle with depleted roster

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The Red Raiders draw up a play during a time out

The five on the court sit in chairs during a time out while head coach Mark Adams draws up a play against Prairie View A&M University at the United Supermarkets Arena on Nov. 15, 2021.

The No. 25 Texas Tech men’s basketball team fell to the No.11 Iowa State Cyclones by a score of 51-47 on Wednesday in the Hilton Coliseum. In a game played with only seven Red Raiders, head basketball coach Mark Adams led his team to a tie game with less than three minutes left.

"I was really proud with the way our guys came out and performed," Adams said after the game. "Obviously we didn't shoot the ball very well, missed some free throws, but the effort was outstanding."

Before the game, Tech announced that five student-athletes were unable to travel to the game in Ames, Iowa due to health and safety protocols.

6-foot-11 redshirt-freshman forward Daniel Batcho, sophomore guard Chibuzo Agbo, senior guard Sardaar Calhoun were among those five players, along with redshirt-sophomore Austin Timperman and the previously injured freshman Ethan Duncan.

In addition to the players lost to COVID-19 complication, Tech was without three guards with multiple games starts this year due to injury; Redshirt-junior Kevin McCullar (ankle), junior Terrence Shannon Jr (back spasms) and junior transfer Mylik Wilson (knee). 

"We didn't know we were gonna have seven til we got on the plane," Adams said. "I thought it was a great team effort .. really proud of em' but just couldn't get the win."

Adams had just seven players at his disposal against an Iowa State defense allowing just 57.7 points per game, second-best in the conference behind only Chris Beard’s Texas Longhorns, according to Big 12 Sports. 

 

Adams was able to start the same forwards he’s started all year in senior Kevin Obanor and super-senior Bryson Williams, as well as super-senior guard Davion Warren. 

Super-senior guard Adonis Arms has started every game since Shannon’s injury, and the transfer from Winthrop halted an early 11-0 run by Iowa State with two jumpers after the game was initially tied at four a piece. 

Arms only sat on the bench once in the entire game, for 22 seconds. His final statline consisted of seven points, two assists, and two season-highs eight rebounds and four steals.

Junior guard Clarence Nadolny started for the first time since joining Tech in 2019, one of only five returners from last year’s Red Raiders roster under former head coach Chris Beard, and led Tech with five points at halftime.

The Red Raiders trailed by 11 points at halftime (30-19) after going 0-6 from behind the arc while 18 of Iowa State’s 30 first-half points came from three (6-16, 37.5%). Iowa State’s first half shooting performance came after going 1-14 in their last game against No.1 Baylor, according to ISU Athletics. 

One area the Red Raiders fared well in during the first half was rebounds, trailing 19-14 in total rebounds at halftime but tying the Cyclones with 13 on defense. Obanor’s six rebounds at that point led the game, one more than Iowa State’s 6-foot-8 forward Tristan Enurana.

Warren made Tech’s first three pointer of the game for the first made bucket in the second half, sparking a 7-0 run as the Red Raiders held Iowa State scoreless for 7 minutes and closed the Cyclones lead to just four points. 

Tech climbed back to a two-point deficit with four minutes left in the game, and Davion Warren tied the game at 40 with an inside layup through contact that Santos-Silva followed with a dunk to give Tech it’s first lead at 42-40. 

Iowa State’s Izaiah Brockington responded by knocking down a three-pointer through contact and converting on the and-one opportunity, and after two Tech fouls the Cyclones improved their lead to 47-42 with 30 seconds left. 

With Williams passing the ball in under the basketball, Adams drew up a successful inbound play that led to an open dunk by Warren and brought the game back to a one-score game. 

Warren then helped force ISU into a timeout after acting as half of a full court double team, but was called for a foul when going for a steal during the Cyclones’ inbound attempt, and Iowa State made both free throw attempts to improve their lead to 49-44. 

After a fastbreak opportunity for the Cyclones ended in a turnover, the Red Raiders’ next offensive possession resulted in Warren attempting a corner three but getting called for an offensive foul during his shot. 

After the officiating crew spent multiple minutes reviewing the foul on Warren, they confirmed the call and sent Warren to the bench for his fifth foul. Nadolny also fouled out in the game’s last seconds, leading to two more points for Iowa State. 

Even with a win out of reach, Adonis Arms drove the ball down the court with four seconds left and knocked down a buzzer-beater three as time expired. 

"I wish I had a couple timeouts left to run a few more plays," Adams said. "We were able to keep it close and that what we wanted, to keep the game close and try to win at the end."

Warren ended the game as Tech’s leading scorer with 12 points on 4-11 shooting from the field, but also led the Red Raiders with four turnovers. 

Obanor finished as the game’s leading rebounder with ten rebounds, only scoring three points after missing three shots from behind the arc and going 1-5 from the field. He also recorded three turnovers and three fouls. 

Iowa State’s Brockington led the game in scoring with 14 points, and he trailed Obanor in rebounds by just one (nine). 

Despite Tech making four more shots than Iowa State when both teams recorded 49 attempts, the Red Raiders shot 18 percent from behind the arc and 40 percent from the free throw line while the Cyclones shot 28 percent and 74 percent, respectively. 

Tech was unable to win their Big 12 opener despite outscoring Iowa State 28-6 in the paint, recording only one less rebound than the Cyclones and forcing them into three more turnovers than their own.

The No. 25 Red Raiders fell to 10-3 with the loss, but they’ll hope to gain back several players in time for a 3 p.m. matchup against No.6 Kansas on Saturday, who boasts the Big 12’s runner up in scoring in senior guard Ochai Agbaji, according to Big 12 Sports.

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