Terrence Shannon, Jr., Kevin Obanor each net 20, No. 12 Texas Tech basketball overwhelms Montana State

Carlos Silva Jr.
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

SAN DIEGO — They left no doubt.

After Blake Wesley got loose, using a pump fake and drained a short-corner jumper, Montana State took its first and only lead of the game at 2-0 with less than a minute expired off the clock.

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Terrence Shannon, Jr. answered with one of his three 3-pointers, en route to pouring in 15 points in the first half, and Bryson Williams chipped in double figures in the final 20 minutes, to help the No. 12 Red Raiders earn a resounding 97-62 victory Friday over the Bobcats in a first-round NCAA Tournament inside Viejas Arena.

Williams and Shannon each finished with 20 points, marking the first time two players finished with that mark in an NCAA Tournament game.

"I feel like everyone was unselfish," said Shannon, who also has six assists and one turnover. "Nobody was hurrying shots. We did a good job moving the ball, and when we play unselfish and selfless, we're a pretty good team."

Williams, who scored 12 points in the second half, agreed.

"When we share the ball and have the number of assists we had today, it's just going to flow for us," he said, alluding to 23 assists on 36 made baskets. "And everybody played well tonight and we moved that ball and it really helped us at the end."

Texas Tech's Adonis Arms (25) dribbles the ball against Montana State in March Madness' first round, Friday, March 18, 2022, at Viejas Arena in San Diego, California.

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With the victory, Texas Tech (26-9) advances to the second round to play Notre Dame. The Bobcats (27-8) saw a banner year come to an end. 

"Couldn't be more thrilled (with) the way we played," Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. "One of the best games we've played all year. Excited that our guys are showing improvement. And that's the thing we want to do is continue to grow as a team.

"We took Montana State very seriously, a very good program, well-coached. Like I told coach (Danny) Sprinkle after the game: 'It's the best, if not the best game we've played all year. We can build on that."

Texas Tech's Terrence Shannon, Jr. (1), right, dribbles the ball against Montana State in March Madness' first round, Friday, March 18, 2022, at Viejas Arena in San Diego, California.

Shannon was in the zone early, pumping in six points during a game-changing 10-0 run to help the Red Raiders go from down 2-0 to up with a 12-2 advantage at the 16:37 mark of the first half. 

"That's the best defensive team in the country for a reason," Montana State coach Danny Sprinkle said. "They make every catch hard. They contest not only every shot, they contest every pass, and they made it really difficult for us.

"And when they start making 3's — I think they started the game, they made 10 of their first 14 — I don't know if there's anybody in the tournament that's going to beat them if they shoot the ball that well because defensively, they don't have any weaknesses."

Texas Tech's Kevin Obanor (0), right, chest-bumps Texas Tech's Kevin McCullar (15) at the game against Montana State, Friday, March 18, 2022, at Viejas Arena in San Diego, California. Texas Tech won, 97-62.

During the offensive surge, Kevin McCullar telegraphed a pass before stealing the ball away and finishing a fastbreak layup. The junior's sequence epitomized what Adams was looking effort-wise from his defense that turned into offense.

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That became the trend as the Bobcats had no offense for the Red Raiders no middle defense, while the Texas Tech offense was humming.

Up 30-9 following a pair of Shannon free throws with 11:42 left before the break, the Red Raiders made 10-of-12 from the field, including 4-for-4 from the three-point line to go along with making all six of their free throws.

The result saw Texas Tech go into halftime with a 52-25 advantage.

Yet, Adams was not pleased despite his squad turning in one of the best-shooting contests in the first round since the tournament expanded to 64 teams back in 1985.

Texas Tech's Kevin Obanor (0) dunks the ball against the Montana State defense in a first-round NCAA Tournament game Friday at Viejas Arena in San Diego, California. Obanor finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds as the No. 12 Red Raiders won, 97-62.

The Red Raiders ended up making 66.7% of its shots from the field, including making 12 of 20 three-pointers. The record is owned by Syracuse which netted 67.9% of its baskets against Southern Illinois in 1995. TTU's in a tie for fourth.

"Anytime we're shooting the ball well it's hard for me to take any credit for that," Adams said. "When we're shooting the ball, shooting 3s, easy, winning comes a lot easier and you don't have to rely on that defense as much.

"So if we could shoot the ball Sunday and throughout the tournament, then we're going to be in good shape."

Montana State, which did not eclipse double figures until 10 minutes into the first stanza, had a bit of positive momentum after Xavier Bishop connected a three-pointer before the buzzer that drew the ire of Adams.

Bishop finished with 12 points the only player to finish in double figures for the Bobcats.

Texas Tech's Daniel Batcho (4) looks to pass the ball against Montana State in March Madness' first round, Friday, March 18, 2022, at Viejas Arena in San Diego, California. Texas Tech won, 97-62.

"I mean, that's an elite defensive team," Bishop said. "Like coach said, they don't have any weaknesses. Their 5s are able to guard small fast guards like me. They just make everything tough."

Texas Tech built on its scoring cushion, leading by as many as 37 points before securing the victory — a first for Williams and Davion Warren, who made their tournament debuts.

"I know this team wants to play as long as we can," Adams said. "And we've talked about that, let's forget about this first game. Let's get ready, because we did a great job preparing for Montana State.

"If we do the same, we'll have a chance to win that one."

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What's next?

Texas Tech is slated to take on Notre Dame in the second round Sunday. A time was not announced by the A-J or AGN local copy deadline.

Solid start

Texas Tech scored 52 points in the first half alone, which replicated the same mark that was achieved against Lamar last November.

In the previous contest, Obanor (20 points), Williams (16 points) and Shannon, Jr. (15 points) all finished in double figures.


MONTANA ST. (27-8)

Belo 2-8 1-3 5, Mohamed 1-2 1-2 3, Adamu 2-6 0-0 4, Bishop 3-8 4-4 12, Patterson 1-8 0-0 3, Osobor 1-2 2-2 4, Gazelas 3-7 0-0 9, Battle 4-8 0-0 9, Lecholat 0-0 2-2 2, Tynes 1-1 0-0 2, McMahon 2-2 2-2 7, Spears 1-3 0-0 2, Ash 0-0 0-0 0, Fernandez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-55 12-15 62.


Obanor 5-7 0-1 10, Williams 8-10 0-1 20, Arms 4-7 5-6 15, McCullar 5-6 0-1 10, Shannon 5-7 7-8 20, Warren 4-9 1-1 10, Santos-Silva 1-1 0-0 2, Wilson 1-3 0-0 2, Batcho 0-0 0-1 0, Agbo 3-3 0-0 8, Allen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 36-54 13-19 97.

Halftime_Texas Tech 52-25. 3-Point Goals_Montana St. 8-24 (Gazelas 3-6, Bishop 2-4, McMahon 1-1, Battle 1-5, Patterson 1-7, Spears 0-1), Texas Tech 12-20 (Williams 4-5, Shannon 3-4, Agbo 2-2, Arms 2-3, Warren 1-3, McCullar 0-1, Obanor 0-2). Rebounds_Montana St. 20 (Osobor 4), Texas Tech 30 (Obanor 11). Assists_Montana St. 14 (Belo 4), Texas Tech 23 (Shannon 6). Total Fouls_Montana St. 22, Texas Tech 18.