Texas Tech coach Chris Beard identified a need for a wakeup call for his team last week before a Big 12 road trip to Oklahoma.
So, in his customary style, Beard didn't mince any words.
Those words found their target and inspired a gritty 69-67 victory that assured the No. 13 Red Raiders (7-2) wouldn't take a two-game losing skid into a homestand-starting nonconference game against Incarnate Word on Tuesday in Lubbock.
The Red Raiders will play their next three games at home.
"We wanted to prove to him and the coaching staff that we can do the stuff that he wants us to do," Texas Tech forward Marcus Santos-Silva said after the OU victory. "He did call us out, and as a team, we felt like he was questioning our manhood and seeing how tough we were."
Santos-Silva certainly heeded the message.
After muddling through a stretch of six games when he contributed only 35 points -- with a goose egg in a 58-57 loss to Kansas -- the stocky forward delivered a season-best 18 points by knocking down 9 of 13 floor shots before fouling out late.
His offensive day anchored a more efficient team effort as Texas Tech connected on 28-of-57 field goals against the Sooners (49.1 percent) after three straight games shooting less than 40 percent.
"We just made it a big key to make sure we got good shots and ran the offense that they want us to run and made sure that we did whatever we could to get the win," Santos-Silva said.
A big part of the winning formula at Oklahoma was putting the ball in Mac McClung's hands in crunch time. He scored on a dribble-drive layup for Texas Tech's last make from the floor and swished four throws in the last minute to give the Red Raiders enough of a cushion to survive a final flurry by the Sooners.
McClung notched 16 points in the win despite missing all four 3-point attempts he launched. He remains Texas Tech's leading scorer with 15.1 points a game but has cooled off noticeably from outside the arc -- 4 of 22 in his last five games. In that same span, he is 28-for-31 from the foul stripe.
"It was really big, especially him knocking down those free throws at the end," Santos-Silva said of McClung's closing salvo. "It just showed how big of a gamer he is. We really needed those. It was really big that he came out like that for us in the end."
All indications are that the Red Raiders shouldn't need the same kind of heroics against Incarnate Word.
The San Antonio-based Cardinals (1-3) have been out of action since Dec. 5 after going on a COVID-19 pause. Their lone victory was against Our Lady of the Lake, an NAIA program also located in San Antonio. UIW did push Wyoming to overtime before losing 93-84 on Dec. 2.
The last time the Cardinals and Red Raiders met two years ago, Texas Tech steamrolled to an 87-37 victory in Lubbock.
Guard Keaston Willis leads UIW with 20.3 points a game and is shooting 49.2 percent from the field.
Norway native Marcus Larsson is scoring 10 points a game and paces the Cardinals with 8.8 rebounds a contest.
--Field Level Media