The Texas Tech men’s basketball team is currently ranked No. 23 in the nation and is 11-5 following a 6-3 record over the break. Tech entered the break on a two-game losing streak but managed to snap out of the slump and while also starting Big 12 play.
The team’s leading scorer, Jahmi’us Ramsey, did not play in the first three games of the break due to a hamstring injury. He returned in the game against University of Texas in Rio Grand Valley where he recorded 15-points and two steals en route to a Tech victory.
Tech’s winter break began with a 65-60 loss to DePaul in overtime, giving the Red Raiders a three-game losing streak. Freshman guard Terrence Shannon Jr. had a season-high in scoring, dropping 24 points in his hometown of Chicago, Ill. to keep the Red Raiders in the game. DePaul’s big man and projected first-round pick in the NBA draft, Paul Reed, proved to be too much for Tech as he recorded 18 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Reed stuffed the stat sheet to help the Blue Demons defeat Tech by five.
Tech bounced back from the three-game losing streak beating the No. 1 team in the country, Louisville, 70-57 in the Jimmy V Classic that took place in Madison Square Garden. Junior guard Davide Moretti posted his best game of the season with 18 points while going 8-8 from the free-throw line. Sophomore Avery Benson was a catalyst for the Red Raiders with one of the best games in his career. He posted 10 points and did not miss a shot, recording a true shooting percentage of 100 percent. He added two crucial blocks, one of them at the buzzer before halftime to keep the momentum on Tech’s side going into the break.
The Red Raiders built upon their win against the Cardinals, beating Southern Mississippi 71-65 with Shannon leading the way offensively, putting up 18 points. Graduate transfer Chris Clarke recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds as he also added six assists. Tech shot 24-27 from the free-throw line against the Golden Eagles, making up for their 37.5 field goal percentage.
Ramsey returned in the game against UTRGV after missing the previous four games to injury. Ramsey and Shannon’s 29 combined points pushed Tech to a 68-58 win over the Vaqueros. Former Red Raider Jordan Jackson did not make it easy on Tech, recording 12 points and three steals against his old team. Freshman guard Kevin McCullar tied his season-high 10 points in just 16 minutes played to add production coming off the bench.
Tech’s first game of the New Year came against Cal State Bakersfield. This game closed out non-conference play. The Red Raiders won 73-58 thanks to sophomore Kyler Edwards and Ramsey’s 20-point games. The guards combined for seven three-pointers on 10 attempts, posting a 70 percent three-point percentage. The Red Raiders’ defense forced 17 turnovers while they committed only nine themselves.
The Red Raiders’ first Big 12 matchup came against Oklahoma State. Tech won 85-50, outscoring the Cowboys 49 to 20 in the second half. Four Red Raiders had double-digit points, led by Ramsey’s 18 and graduate transfer TJ Holyfield’s 17. The Cowboys shot 28.8 percent from the field while Tech was 54.5 percent from the field. The Red Raiders’ defense proved to be too much as they forced 14 turnovers and only allowed six assists.
No. 4 Baylor ended Tech’s five-game winning streak with a 57-52 win in a gritty defensive battle. Both teams struggled shooting the ball and shot 30 percent three-point range and combined for 15 missed free-throws on 29 attempts, missing more free-throws than they made. Despite the Bears’ 20 turnovers and only six assists, they seemed to make shots when it mattered, not allowing Tech to get past the four-point lead they held for most of the second half. The Bears were all over the glass recording 44 rebounds, 17 of which where on the offensive side, to Tech’s 25 boards. Ramsey was a bright spot for Tech, recording 20 points on 7-17 shooting.
Tech lost their second-straight Big 12 matchup 66-54 to No. 17 West Virginia on Saturday night. The Mountaineers held the Red Raiders to 54 points on 30 percent shooting from the field, making Tech’s shooting struggles more evident. Moretti’s shooting woes continued over the break as he shot 26.8 percent from three-point range over the seven-game stretch before looking to snap out of it against the Mountaineers. He went 4-9 from behind the arc, finishing with 16 points to shake off the slump. Holyfield played just 11 minutes in the game due to early foul trouble, and Shannon was out with a back injury.
In its final game of the break, Tech defeated Kansas State, 77-63. Edwards led the Red Raiders with 24 points, shooting 64 percent from the field and 75 percent from the three. Along with Edwards, three other Red Raiders reached double-digits in the scoring category.
As the new semester has began, Tech’s next game will be against Iowa State at 3 p.m. on Saturday.