Sports Journalism Blog

By Owen Kaelble | @OwenKaelble

Sports Capital Journalism Program

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Fueled by 10 points by sophomore guard Terrence Shannon Jr., Texas Tech pulled off a 24-4 run in the first 10 minutes of the second half that carried the Red Raiders to a 65-53 victory over the Utah State Aggies on Friday afternoon.

Shannon’s 10 points were scored in a decisive span of 5:40 during the Red Raider surge that turned a six-point deficit into a 49-35 lead. Texas Tech, which lost in the national championship game in 2019, made 56.7% of its shots in the second half after shooting just 28.1% in the first half.

Junior guard Mac McClung, a transfer from Georgetown, led the Red Raiders with 16 points. Junior guard Kyler Edwards scored 12.

Texas Tech (18-10) will meet No. 3 seed Arkansas Razorbacks in a South Region second-round game on Sunday, trying to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the third straight season. Under coach Chris Beard, the Red Raiders have advanced to the Elite Eight or better in the last two tournaments. Before Beard’s tenure, the Lubbock squad had not been past the Sweet Sixteen since 1962.

Beard was able to call upon the experience of a national championship contender when he described his patience with Shannon’s first-half struggle. The coach could remember similar issues with players that eventually competed for a title.

“[He] didn’t play as well as he wanted to, as we wanted him to, as I wanted him to in the first half, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t trying,” Beard said of Shannon. “His heart was in the right place. First NCAA tournament game, I saw it with Jarrett Culver, I saw it with some of our other great guys Davide Moretti, the first game’s a tough one. I thought he did a great job at halftime calming down, taking the coaching, having confidence in himself, remembering all the hours in the gym and sacrifices that he’s made since last season into now and really having the courage to play great down the stretch.”

Utah State (20-9) was led by its premier defender, junior center Neemias Queta, who had his way with the Red Raiders in the first half. Queta blocked six shots in the half as part of a defense that only allowed six points in the paint and nine field goals overall. Queta finished with seven blocks.

However, that changed in the second half as by the 12:00 mark the Red Raiders had already surpassed their number of points in the paint in the first period with eight. Texas Tech scored 28 points off of 22 Utah State turnovers.

In addition to the forced turnovers, the Red Raiders allowed 11 field goals, half as many as the Aggies scored in the first half. Utah State junior forward Justin Bean, who scored 10 points in the first half, was limited to three after halftime.

“We really were just focused on playing defense and being the more aggressive team and just letting the offense come,” freshman Kevin McCullar, who scored 10 points with seven rebounds.