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Texas Tech tries to maintain momentum vs. Sam Houston

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Texas Tech revs back up with some momentum and an eye on improving as Sam Houston visits Lubbock, Texas, on Thursday for both teams’ final game of the 2023 calendar year.

All eyes will be on the coaches, as the Bearkats’ Chris Mudge will be up against first-year Red Raiders coach Grant McCasland. Mudge is in his first season as a head coach, and he previously worked under McCasland at Midland College, where McCasland led the Chaparrals to a NJCAA title in 2007.

With a four-game winning streak in hand, Texas Tech (9-2) has reason to be confident, but its most recent performance sent it into a six-day break with wobbly legs.

Although a 77-66 victory against UT Arlington on Dec. 21 was never in serious peril, the Red Raiders were tested by the Mavericks, who pulled within six with 6:24 to play after trailing by as many as 20 in the second half.

“The only thing I was disappointed in was how do we maintain more composure as the game gets loose?” McCasland said. “But finding a way to win, going into the break, this is a difficult game to play at times because guys are ready to go home. So for us to finish the first part of this off, I thought it was a good finish.”

Joe Toussaint helped Texas Tech hold on with 19 points for the game, while Pop Isaacs contributed 18.

Toussaint and Isaacs are the Red Raiders’ top two scorers this season, averaging 15.0 and 14.3 points, respectively.

Sam Houston (6-7) finished its most game on a positive note despite falling 76-64 to Grand Canyon on Dec. 20.

Lamar Wilkerson led the Bearkats’ strong second-half effort by headlining a balanced attack with eight of his 10 points. Sam Houston shot 46.2 percent from the floor to nearly match Grand Canyon in the final 20 minutes.

But 3-point shooting was an issue, as the Bearkats went just 1-for-9 from deep in the second half to finish 3-for-17 for the game.

Davon Barnes is Sam Houston’s leading scorer with 14.0 points a game, while Wilkerson accounts for 12.9 per contest.

“I think I’ve seen a lot of the things that I thought was a possibility of really good stretches where our talent and having great young men shows, and stretches where we’re still learning at a very fast rate,” Mudge said back on Dec. 18.

–Field Level Media

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