Jarret Johnson for Inside the Red Raiders
A day after Texas Tech basketball confirmed St. John’s had canceled it’s Big 12/Big East Challenge matchup set for Wednesday night in Lubbock, the Red Raiders announced they have found a replacement in Troy. No. 17 Texas Tech (2-1) will now host Troy (1-1) 8 p.m. Friday at United Supermarkets Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Texas Tech Athletics also stated that all ticket and seat locations for the previously scheduled St. John’s game are valid for Friday’s matchup against Troy, which the Red Raiders were forced to scramble to find after St. John’s canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus and traveling to Lubbock.
The Red Raiders are looking to bounce back after dropping a neutral site top 20 matchup to Houston in Fort Worth on Sunday in which Texas Tech trailed 37-19 at the half en route to losing 64-53. The Red Raiders defeated their first two opponents–Northwestern State and Sam Houston State–by an average of 37.5 points.
“Obviously not our best night,” said Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard following the loss to the Cougars. “The reason it wasn’t our best night was Houston, but I do think there was a little bit of fight there in the second half for us to show some grit and really have a chance to get back in the game.”
Earlier Tuesday the Red Raiders announced sophomore forward Joel Ntambwe had left the program “based on personal reasons and what is best for his family”. After transferring in prior to the 2019-20 season and redshirting last season due to his waiver being denied by the NCAA, Ntambwe played in the first three games of this season, though he played sparingly Sunday against Houston. He averaged 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game of the bench.
“We appreciate Joel’s contributions to our basketball program,” Beard said. “We wish Joel the best in his future. I’ll personally be pulling for him to succeed in his next step.”
Despite the recent setbacks the Red Raiders are moving forward with the schedule beginning with Troy on Friday night. Junior guard Mac McClung leads Texas Tech in scoring with 18 points a contest followed by sophomore guard Terrence Shannon at 10.3 a game. Fellow starters Micah Peavy, Marcus Santos-Silva and Kyler Edwards all average eight points.
The Trojans edged Western Colorado, 66-64, last Friday in their season opener before dropping the next game, 73-50, to North Carolina Wilmington on Saturday. Troy, who is led by former UT-Arlington coach Scott Cross, possesses a trio of players averaging double digits in scoring on the young season in freshman guard Kam Woods (14 points per game), junior forward Zay Williams (11.5 ppg) and sophomore guard Desmond Williams (11 ppg).
Texas Tech will also host Grambling on Sunday, then again play host to Abilene Christian on Dec. 9 before travelling to Frisco, TX to take on Texas A&M Corpus-Christi at the Comerica Center on Dec. 12. The Red Raiders open Big 12 play at home against Kansas on Dec. 17.