LUBBOCK, Texas – The No. 25-ranked Texas Tech basketball team will host a pre-Liberty Bowl matchup against Alabama State at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the United Supermarkets Arena in its final game before beginning Big 12 play.
The Red Raiders (9-2) are currently 7-0 at home this season and have won 13 straight non-conference home matchups coming into the game against the Hornets (1-10) who are 0-8 away from their home court in Montgomery, Alabama. Tech is coming off a commanding 78-46 win over Eastern Washington last Wednesday, while Alabama State fell, 68-48, at No. 16 Texas in Austin.
Texas Tech and Alabama State are meeting for the first time in program history. The basketball game will be streamed on ESPN+ prior to the start of the football bowl game at 5:45 p.m. on ESPN.
Tech is scheduled to open Big 12 play against Oklahoma State at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the USA in a New Year’s Day matchup to begin the 18-round conference fight. The Red Raiders come into this week fourth in the nation with a 12.9 rebounding margin over their opponents are 11th with a 19.8 scoring margin, 17th by limiting opponents to 37.8 percent shooting and 18th with teams scoring only 58.6 points per game. Tech held Eastern Washington to only 26.4 percent shooting and has now limited five of 11 opponents under 60 points this season. Three have scored under 50. Offensively, Tech is fourth in the Big 12 by shooting 47.8 percent from the field and is third by scoring 78.5 points per game through 11 games.
The Red Raiders will play eight Big 12 games before hosting Mississippi State on Saturday, Jan. 29 in their final non-conference game of the regular season.
RED RAIDER ROSTER REPORT: The Tech roster of 15 is made up of five returners, seven NCAA Division I transfers, one junior college transfer, a walk-on who did not play last season and one high school signee. An experienced team, the Red Raiders have four super seniors in Davion Warren, Bryson Williams, Marcus Santos-Silva and Adonis Arms and five players who are currently in graduate school in Kevin Obanor, Warren, Williams, Santos-Silva and Arms.
Kevin McCullar recorded the first double-double of his season and third of his career after going for 14 points and 10 rebounds against Gonzaga before scoring 10 points and having five assists in the win over Eastern Washington. McCullar is averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game after also going off for 21 points against Arkansas State. It was the second 20-plus point game of his career and three points shy of his career-high 24 points against Grambling earlier this season. His five assists matched a career and season high that he asl had against North Florida and against Tennessee in the Jimmy V Classic. Along with his strong performance against nationally-ranked Gonzaga, he had 10 rebounds, five assists and eight points in the overtime win over No. 13 Tennessee. A San Antonio native in his third season playing for the Red Raiders, McCullar was a redshirt during the program’s run to the 2019 NCAA Championship final and is the only current player who was on that roster. McCullar scored his career-high 24 points in the win over Grambling in the second game this season where he was 9 of 18 from the field and has scored in double figures in five of seven games played his season. McCullar missed games against Omaha and Lamar with a non-COVID illness before returning to the starting lineup in Rhode Island. A 2021 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection, McCullar has 506 points, 275 rebounds, 90 assists and 82 steals through 58 games in his career. He currently is averaging 1.4 steals per game after having two against Gonzaga and with a season-high three against Prairie View A&M. He led the team last season with 34 steals. A junior on the roster, he still has three years of eligibility remaining.
Arms was a consistent player off the bench for Adams throughout the first nine games before making starts against Gonzaga and Eastern Washington. He has tied for the team lead in scoring in those past two games following going for 12 points on 5 of 6 shooting against EWU. He matched McCullar with 14 points in the game against Gonzaga for the team lead, including hitting a season-high three 3-pointers. He also added four rebounds and an assists in the game. Arms is now averaging 8.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game with a season-high 15 points against Arkansas State. A Milwaukee native, Arms is at his fourth college after also playing at Mesa Community College, Northwest Nazarene and Winthrop. He had a season-high seven rebounds at Providence College and also scored six points in the game. He was held scoreless for the only time this season against Tennessee before bouncing back for his season-high of 15 against the Red Wolves on a 5 of 6 shooting performance. Arms had scored a previous season-high 12 points in the win over Incarnate Word and has five games with two or more 3-pointers after going 3 of 7 on 3-pointers against Gonzaga. He played in the NCAA Tournament last season with Winthrop, scoring 10 points in a loss to Villanova in the opening round.
Terrence Shannon, Jr. missed the games against Eastern Washington Gonzaga with an injury and is listed as a game-time decision for Tuesday’s game. He is scoring 14.3 points per game after recording his first double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Tennessee, but then having a season-low two points against Arkansas State in limited minutes. His 12 rebounds against the Volunteers were a career-high and it was his second career double-double after he had a 23/10 performance last season at LSU. He was coming off 17 points at Providence College where he was 6-for-11 from the field with two 3-pointers. A junior from Chicago, Shannon is in his third season at Tech after electing to return following going through the NBA Draft process over the summer. Shannon did not play in the first three games this season for the Red Raiders as a review of that process was being completed before he returned to play in the fourth game of the year against Incarnate Word. Shannon has scored in double figures in five of six games he’s played in this season and in 41 games through 63 in his career. He also scored 18 points in the team’s 56-point win over Omaha and is currently shooting 11-for-30 (36.7 percent) on 3-pointers with two or more in each of the five games he’s played in. Shannon has scored 730 points in his career with a high of 24 points as a freshman at DePaul. He earned 2021 All-Big 12 Third Team honors and is on the Preseason All-Big 12 team and watch lists for the Naismith, Wooden and West awards.
Bryson Williams is averaging 11.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game after going for 12 points in the win over Eastern Washington. A Fresno, California native, Williams played two seasons at Fresno State and two at UTEP before transferring to Tech over the summer to utilize a fifth season of eligibility. He currently has scored 1,754 points and 796 rebounds through 132 games played in his college career. Williams scored a season-high 22 points in the opener against North Florida by going 9-for-11 from the field and has two games with nine rebounds (Grambling, Omaha) on his resume this season but was limited to a season-low four points and two rebounds at Providence College and seven points and three rebounds against Tennessee. An All-C-USA selection the past two seasons, he has made 702 baskets in his career.
Obanor is coming off 11 points and seven rebounds against EWU after he scored nine points and had four rebounds against Gonzaga. He is averaging 9.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game coming into the matchup against Alabama State. Obanor also scored 12 points with two 3-pointers at Providence College after scoring a season-high 20 points in the home win over Lamar. A senior from Houston who is in his first season at Tech after three years at Oral Roberts, Obanor has scored 1,412 points and has 737 rebounds through 97 games of his collegiate career. He is coming off a junior season where he had 15 double-doubles and averaged 18.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game at ORU where he recorded double-doubles in three NCAA Tournament games en route to the Sweet 16. Obanor has hit at least one 3-pointer in nine of 11 game this season and is currently 19-for-50 on 3-pointers (38.0 percent) after going 2-for-3 from beyond the arc against EWU.
Davion Warren is averaging 10.9 points per game through 11 games as a Red Raider after going for 21.2 points per game as a senior at Hampton University last season. He’s coming off a game against EWU where he had nine points and also had two steals. He had 10 points and two steals against Tennessee. A Buffalo, New York native, Warren ranked 14th nationally in scoring last season and was the fourth leading returner. He scored a season-high 19 points in the win over Grambling in the second game of the season and has scored in double figures in five of eight games. Warren is currently 24 of 30 on free throws (80.0 percent) and has made 209 free throws in his career. After beginning his career with two seasons at Olney Central College, Warren played two seasons at Hampton where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He currently has 997 points through 70 games at the NCAA level.
Marcus Santos-Silva is in his second season at Tech after playing three years at VCU. A super senior from Taunton, Massachusetts, he has produced 1,131 points and 851 rebounds through 137 games in his collegiate career. Santos-Silva is averaging 5.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game for the Red Raiders this season with a high of 12 rebounds in the win over Lamar and 13 points in the opener against North Florida. He’s coming off a game against EWU where he had eight points by going 4 of 4 from the field. Santos-Silva has 26 games in his career with double-digit rebounds after his 12-rebound performance against Lamar. He is seventh in the Big 12 with 2.5 offensive rebounds per game with a season-high five offensive rebounds in the win over Lamar. He currently has 342 offensive rebounds in his career.
Mylik Wilson missed the past three games and will be unavailable against Alabama State after minor knee surgery which will have him out a couple weeks. He leads Tech with 3.7 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game this season where he is also adding 4.1 points and 1.9 rebounds. A transfer from Louisiana, Wilson has started five of eight games he played in and is 11th nationally with a 3.7 assist-to-turnover ratio with 26 assists and only seven turnovers. Wilson had a season-high seven assists in the season-opening win over North Florida and has four or more assists in four games this season. Wilson is a junior with three years of eligibility remaining after playing two seasons at Louisiana. He currently has 194 assists, 702 points and 324 rebounds through 63 games played in his collegiate career.
Tech’s bench is deep with Daniel Batcho, Chibuzo Agbo, Clarence Nadolny, KJ Allen and Sardaar Calhoun poised to make impacts. Batcho is a freshman from Paris France who transferred from Arizona where he redshirted last season before deciding to transfer. He secured a career-high 11 rebounds in the win over Tennessee where he also scored four points and had two blocked shots and is now coming off going for five points and three rebounds against Arkansas State. Batcho had 10 rebounds and also scored six points in the win over Omaha after producing eight rebounds and eight points against Incarnate Word. The tallest Red Raider at 6-foot-11, Batcho is averaging 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 points per game after having five points and four rebounds against EWU. Tech’s only true freshman, Ethan Duncan, will redshirt this season after suffering an off-season shoulder injury that required surgery. Austin Timperman made his debut against EWU after becoming eligible at midterm. A walk-on from The Woodlands, Timperman transferred to Tech as a student last year after being in UTSA’s team.
OUR LEADER: Mark Adams is in his first season as the head coach at Texas Tech after working as the associate head coach for the program for five seasons. His 6-0 start was the best beginning to a season for a first-year head coach at Tech. Adams, who is the 18th head coach in program history, has won 561 games as a head coach and is in 26th season in a head coaching role with previous head coach experience at Howard College (2004-13), UTRGV (1992-97), West Texas A&M (1987-92), Wayland Baptist (1983-87) and Clarendon College (1981-82). Adams was named Tech’s 18th head coach in program history on April 6, 2021 having already amassed a 554-244 overall record in the lead role. He led Howard College to the 2010 NJCAA National Championship and Wayland Baptist to the 1985 NAIA National Championship Finals with a runner-up finish. Adams coached Jae Crowder at Howard College. As an assistant under Chris Beard, Adams helped Little Rock to the NCAA Tournament before unprecedented success at Texas Tech where the Red Raiders advanced to the 2018 Elite Eight and 2019 NCAA National Championship Final. Tech advanced to the 2021 NCAA Tournament which is the first time the program has made three straight tournament appearances. Adams has been inducted to the Hall of Fame at Wayland Baptist, West Texas A&M, Howard College and the NJCAA. His defense was the top-ranked unit in Kenpom in adjusted defense. Adams has surrounded himself by an experienced staff that includes head coaching experience in Corey Williams (Stetson), Barret Peery (Portland State) and Sean Sutton (Oklahoma State).
POLLS (*going into Monday): Texas Tech remains at No. 25 for the second straight week in the Associated Press Men’s Basketball Top 25 along with moving back one spot to No. 25 in the Ferris Mowers USA TODAY Coaches Poll. Along with the polls, Tech is now at No. 21 overall in Kenpom, No. 10 in Kenpom adjusted defensive efficiency and No. 30 in the NCAA NET Rankings. Tech, which entered the polls last week for the first time this season, is now 1-2 against current top-25 teams with a win over Tennessee and losses to Providence College and Gonzaga. Baylor (10-0) is at No. 1 in the AP Poll for the second straight week followed by No. 2 Duke (10-1), No. 3 Purdue (10-1), No. 4 Gonzaga (9-2) and No. 5 UCLA (9-1) in the top-5. The Big 12 is also represented by No. 7 Kansas (8-1), No. 9 Iowa State (11-0) and No. 16 Texas (8-2) in the polls. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are each receiving votes. The Associated Press college basketball poll started on Jan. 20, 1949. The original poll had 20 teams, with Saint Louis the first school to hold the No. 1 ranking. The Red Raiders were ranked throughout the 2020-21 season, reaching as high as No. 7 and finishing at No. 21. It was the first time in program history a Tech team was ranked in the preseason poll and remained ranked throughout the year.
ALABAMA STATE REPORT: The Hornets are coached by Mo Williams who played 14 seasons in the NBA and helped Cleveland win the 2016 NBA Championship. ASU is currently 1-10 on the season with five straight losses after its 20-point defeat to the Longhorns in Austin. The Hornets, who play out of the SWAC and also have a 68-60 loss to Iowa State on their resume, were down only 29-25 at halftime against Texas last Wednesday before UT pulled away in the second half. Gerald Liddell led the Hornets with 16 points by going 5 of 12 from the field in his return to Austin after playing three seasons with the Longhorns. A Cibolo native, Liddell leads the Hornets with 11.4 points per game this season. Trace Young is adding 9.0 points per game while Kenny Strawbridge is at 8.5 points per game and Jordan O’Neal leads the team with 4.9 rebounds per game. ASU plays at Mississippi Valley State on Saturday.
UP NEXT: Texas Tech is set to host Oklahoma State at 3 p.m. on Saturday in its Big 12 opener before playing at Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 5 in Ames, Iowa. The Cowboys have won three straight over Tech after claiming a pair of overtime wins last season. The Cyclones are currently 12-0 on the season and will host Baylor on Saturday before the matchup against the Red Raiders. Tech is currently on a five-game winning streak over the Cyclones.