Texas Tech basketball: Kevin Obanor capitalizes on early offense, Red Raiders rout Lamar at home

·5 min read

Kevin Obanor found another way to score the basketball.

Not that the 6-foot-8 forward wasn't capable, but Obanor was given the opportunity to put the ball in the basket from the low-post plenty of times as Texas Tech hosted Lamar on Saturday afternoon.

Obanor took advantage, scoring 16 of his 20 total points in the first half — highlighting a trio of double-digit scorers — who helped the Red Raiders down the Cardinals 89-57 inside United Supermarkets Arena.

"Of course it feels to score, but at the same time, we have a very talented group that can all score," said Obanor, who also chipped in seven rebounds along with netting his second double-digit game of the year. "Some days may be my night to score, but the main goal is to always be on the defensive end — always playing my heart, keep rebounding, just doing the little plays in order for us to win."

Bryson Williams added 16 points, while Terrence Shannon, Jr. chipped in 15 points of his own to help the offense create separation in the first half.

With the triumph, Texas Tech (6-0) kept its unblemished overall record intact as ut embarks on a difficult road stretch that starts with a road matchup against Providence on Dec. 1 and follows it up by taking on Tennessee on Dec. 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Texas Tech's Kevin Obanor (0) shoots the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas.
Texas Tech's Kevin Obanor (0) shoots the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas.

More: Texas Tech men's basketball poised to keep undefeated record intact

Before that trip, the Red Raiders can look at the game tape and know they have a multi-level scorer in Obanor. The Oral Roberts transfer started off strong, scoring 17 points in the regular season opener but had not netted double figures in his next four contests — amassing 25 points during that stretch.

Until Saturday.

Obanor was one point away from his season high thanks to his teammates finding him on the block and other spots around the perimeter after the first 20 minutes. He made good on those opportunities, turning them into assists as he drained 6-of-9 shots, including 3-for-5 mark from the three-point line.

"It feels good to know that I don't have to score the most points every night in order for us to win," Obanor said of his four-game scoring struggles. "At the same time, me going through that slump, it builds that resilience. It makes you grow even more when things aren't going your way. ... It's kind of a testimony for my teammates to keep motivating me.

"It's a tribute that we have such a versatile team."

Thanks to his stellar shooting, it opened up the floor for the rest of his teammates — specifically wing Shannon, Jr. and posts Williams and Marcus Santos-Silva.

Shannon, who came into the contest shooting 50% percent from the free-throw line, continued to flourish with his improved jump shot and drained a trio of triples en route to nine first-half points to mirror Williams while Santos-Silva added eight points — four coming from the free-thow line.

"It opens up a lot," Santos-Silva said of when Obanor has a good offensive night, "because they either have to double down on me or Bryson. Or when they do that, we can pass it out to KO (Obanor) or TJ (Shannon) when they're hot — even Davion (Warren).

"And also, if they don't come, we have a one-on-one in the post. ... It opens up everything on the floor."

Kevin Obanor
Kevin Obanor

That all resulted in the Red Raiders taking a 52-33 advantage — their largest lead of the game to that point — into the locker room.

Texas Tech ballooned the lead to as many as 30 points before salting away the victory over the Cardinals (1-6).

Davion Buster and C.J. Roberts each finished with 20 points to lead Lamar. Roberts was at Texas Tech during the 2018-2019 campaign,

"I think that was his idea more than ours," Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said, cracking a smile, when asked of getting Obanor involved Saturday. "We did run a couple of plays for him early, but he just took advantage of some opportunities. He was open and made some shots.

"It was good to see him get back into his old form. ... I was glad to see him get some shots up that went in."

Texas Tech's Terrence Shannon, Jr. (1) drives the ball around Lamar's Lincoln Smith (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas.
Texas Tech's Terrence Shannon, Jr. (1) drives the ball around Lamar's Lincoln Smith (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas.

Too many mistakes

After committing a season-low seven turnovers in a victory over Omaha earlier in the week, the Red Raiders recorded 17 on Saturday.

It marked the fifth time this season Texas Tech finished with double-digit turnovers.

Still out

Kevin McCullar, who was ruled out against Omaha earlier in the week with a non-COVID illness, was wearing a mask and sitting on the Texas Tech bench Saturday.

He's averaging 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game this season.

"He was in our locker room, doing better, still recovering, making progress," Adams said of McCullar. "He's not 100% yet, but I think by Monday or so we'll have him back on the practice floor ready to go to Providence."

What's next?

Texas Tech is slated to hit the road, taking on Providence in a 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 contest.

Lamar is scheduled to take on Mississippi State in a 7 p.m. Dec. 2 road game.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech basketball: Kevin Obanor, Red Raiders rout Lamar University

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