The Texas Tech Red Raiders took the court early on Saturday afternoon, two hours before the Iowa State Cyclones helped them move closer to the top of the Big 12 standings by defeating league-leading Kansas State. Texas Tech couldn’t worry about the events in Manhattan, Kansas. It had to tend to business in Lubbock, Texas, against the Baylor Bears.
Tech’s tunnel vision was very clear on Saturday.
The Red Raiders took advantage of the fact that Baylor was playing without two of its best players, Makai Mason and King McClure. Baylor has continuously overcome injuries this season, but the steady parade of body blows caught up with the Bears.
Texas Tech, though, had to deliver a superb effort in order to expose Baylor’s limitations. That’s exactly what the home team did in an 86-61 win. The result lifts Tech just one game behind Kansas State in the loss column with three more weeks left in the Big 12 regular season.
“These guys stayed the course,” coach Chris Beard said. “In our locker room, there wasn’t much panic going on. Our objective has always been to be part of the fight, and I’m proud of our team. We’re part of the fight.”
Beard’s words on his team’s resilience are properly framed in a context which goes beyond this game against Baylor. Texas Tech lost three straight games in January and barely beat Arkansas at home. This team lost its way for a brief period of time, but the Red Raiders have refortified themselves in February.
They have now won four straight games and six of the last seven. Their season is clearly back on track, and they know that they will get a shot on home hardwood to take down the Kansas Jayhawks next Saturday night in Lubbock.
They will need to stay the course then. They hope they are ready for the storms yet to come in this Big 12 season.
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