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No. 11 Texas Tech Completes Season Sweep of No. 7 Baylor

Sports

The Texas Tech Red Raiders team photo. | Image by Texas Tech

On February 16, the number 11-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat the reigning champion Baylor Bears, ranked seven, 83-73 in Lubbock.

The win completes a season sweep for Texas Tech, which also defeated then first ranked Baylor 65-62 in Waco on January 11 to snap a 21-game win streak for the Bears. The Red Raiders had not won both regular-season matchups against Baylor since the 2004-05 season.

Kevin Obanor, a senior transfer from Oral Roberts University, led the Red Raiders in scoring with 23 points and was the leading rebounder with 13 boards. Obanor did most of his damage after halftime. He scored 21 of his points and had nine of his rebounds after the break.

Entering the game, Obanor had missed eleven consecutive three-point attempts over the last two games, including two attempts in the first half against Baylor. After halftime, Obanor hit back-to-back threes as part of a 14-3 run to start the second half. The run erased a 39-32 halftime lead for Baylor and gave Texas Tech a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Later in the second half, Obanor again connected on consecutive three-pointers to give the Red Raiders a double-digit lead for the first time.

“Kevin just put it in another gear,” Texas Tech head coach Mark Adams said. “That second half, he put us over his shoulders and said, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna let us lose,’ and had a great 20 minutes. … He just took the game over.”

“We know his capabilities,” Baylor guard Adam Flagler added about Obanor’s massive second half.  “We know what he can do behind the three-point line. We had a lot of mishaps in the second half to allow him to shoot.”

Obanor was not alone in helping Tech improve to 16-0 at home this season. Bryson Williams added 17 points, Adonis Arms scored 15 points, and Terrence Shannon had 14 for a balanced Tech attack that scored 51 points in the second half.

Texas Tech legend and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was in attendance among the sold-out and always raucous Red Raider home crowd.

James Akinjo led Baylor with 18 points, while Flagler had 14 points and Matthew Mayer added 13. The Bears played a solid first half, leading by as many as eight points before taking the 39-32 lead into the locker room. Texas Tech made just 33.3% of their shot attempts in the first half and went the final 6:59 without making a basket. On the other hand, Baylor made 50% of their shot attempts before halftime.

The second half was a completely different story for the Bears’ offense. Baylor was limited to making only 37.1% of their shots after the break.

“Really played well the first half and then second half turned it over,” Bears coach Scott Drew said. “We didn’t rebound. We didn’t get stops. We didn’t get in transition.”

Baylor was outrebounded 41-30, gave up 21 second-chance points, and was outscored 28-22 in the paint.

Both teams were shorthanded. The Bears were without key role player and leading rebounder Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua. After suffering a significant knee injury in a February 12 win over No. 20 Texas, he underwent season-ending surgery. Tchamwa Tchatchoua was averaging 8.4 points and 6.8 rebounds off the bench.

“Everybody’s just got to pick it up,” coach Drew said. “We haven’t had much time to practice since Jon’s been gone. It’s going to take some time to adjust. It’s kind of like starting over. We’ve had so many guys come and go.”

Tech was also without its leading rebounder in Kevin McCullar Jr. He suffered a high ankle sprain in a February 12 win over TCU. McCullar Jr. also leads the team in assists.

Defeating a top-ten opponent without McCullar Jr. further solidifies the Red Raiders as a legitimate threat to make a deep tournament run and compete for a title. The win moves Tech (20-6, 9-4 Big 12) into a tie for second place in the Big 12 conference with Baylor (21-5, 9-4). Both are now one-game behind No. 6 Kansas (21-4, 10-2). Since losing last month to the Red Raiders, the Bears are now 6-5 in the 11 games that have followed.

“What’s important is not what I said, but how they responded,” coach Adams said of his halftime speech to his team. “This team is very resilient.”

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