WACO, Texas — When Texas Tech upset No. 6 Kansas on Saturday at United Supermarkets Arena, it was an attention-getter to the college basketball world. Not satisfied, the Red Raiders seemingly told everyone to watch what’s next.
They took the show on the road Tuesday night and did the same to top-ranked Baylor.
Adonis Arms scored 14 points and four teammates joined him in double-digit scoring as No. 19 Tech beat the defending national champions, 65-62, ending the Bears’ nation-best 21-game win streak.
Senior forward Kevin McCullar scored 12 points, including a 3-point goal that gave Tech a 59-52 lead — its largest of the night — and the Red Raiders weathered a late charge.
“For sure one of my biggest wins in my career here at Tech,” said McCullar, who was part of an NCAA Tournament runner-up . “I’m just glad I did it with these guys and coach (Mark) Adams. It was just an amazing feeling.”
Kevin Obanor and Bryson Williams each scored 13 points for Tech (12-3, 2-1 in the Big 12), which took down a national No. 1 for the first time since a December 2019 conquest of Louisville in Madison Square Garden.
Guards Adam Flagler and James Akinjo scored 17 apiece for Baylor (15-1, 3-1), which had its nation-leading 21-game win streak snapped and suffered its first loss at home since February 2020 against Kansas.
That outcome seemed unlikely when the Bears used hot perimeter shooting to fashion 15-point leads twice in the first half. Adams said the Red Raiders “could have rolled up the tent and gone home,” but he coaxed them to hang in.
“You’re just trying to get them emotionally stirred up so they’ll keep clawing,” he said. “I made the point that they made some really tough shots early and some of these shots aren’t going to fall late. Just stay after them, keep a hand in their face and let’s keep moving forward.”
The Bears cut a 63-57 deficit to one with 28 seconds left on a 3-point goal and two free throws, all by Akinjo. After Tech’s Davion Warren made two foul shots with 19.4 seconds to go, Akinjo’s 3 to force overtime was off the mark.
Tech fans, who made their presence felt in the Ferrell Center with “Raider Power” chants, got to celebrate for the second time in four days.
Easy enough for them. Less so for the players who had just upset Kansas.
“I was so pleased with the guys,” Adams said. “We prepared well and again got emotionally ready. I told these guys, there’s 350 Division I schools or more out there, and they’d all love to be playing the number-one team, so it was a great opportunity for us and thank goodness we took advantage of it.”
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McCullar’s big 3 came with 2:39 to go and then Baylor guards James and Flagler rallied the Bears. Flagler scored on back-to-back trips, his 3-point goal making it 59-57 with 1:39 to go.
Arms answered that by going down the lane, spinning in the air and finishing with a dunk. Asked to describe that move, the 6-foot-5 transfer from Winthrop said, “I’d describe it as nasty.”
“We’ve been reminding Adonis since the summer that he’s got the highest vertical (jump) on the team,” Adams said. “Adonis didn’t even know how good he is or could be, but he has great God-given ability, he’s so athletic and has a great skillset to go with it.”
McCullar played 31 minutes on an ankle that Adams said athletic trainers estimated at 65 percent of healthy. McCullar checked into the game less than two minutes in and said the ankle “didn’t feel too bad.”
“He played with a lot of courage,” Adams said. “I asked him before the game if he wanted to play. He definitely said, ‘I’m playing.’ We couldn’t have won without Kevin’s performance.”
Only three of Baylor’s first 15 opponents had stayed within single digits, Iowa State being the closest in a 77-72 Bears victory on New Year’s Day in Ames, Iowa.
The lead changed hands four times from the middle of the second half on. Arms found Williams for a wide-open 3 that put Tech up 54-52 with 4:47 to go.
Tech, down 24-9 and 31-16 in the first half, pulled even for the third time in the second half on a Obanor dunk that made the score 46-46. Clarence Nadolny, who finished with 11 points, made one of two free throws that gave the Red Raiders their first lead and when Arms scored on a putback, Tech was up 49-46 with 9:02 to go.
A three-point play by Williams capped a 17-2 run that evened the score at 33. Then after Akinjo put the Bears back ahead with his second basket of the half, McCullar tied it again moments later with a steal and layup.
Akinjo sent an alley-oop pass that Kendall Brown dunked for a 41-37 lead before Tech’s Obanor and the Bears’ L.J. Cryer traded 3s.
Flagler’s fourth 3 gave Baylor a 31-16 lead. Tech countered with a 10-point burst, the last two buckets coming from Nadolny on back-to-back trips.
Arms fed Nadolny cutting to the basket for one hoop and McCullar grabbed a defensive rebound and threw a long outlet pass that Nadolny converted with a dunk, narrowing the gap to 31-26 and prompting a Bears timeout at 1:14 before halftime.
The Bears had a double-digit lead less than eight minutes into the game and pushed it to 24-9 when big man Flo Thamba fetched a missed 3-point attempt and put it back with 9:10 left in the half.
No. 19 Texas Tech is scheduled to host Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday with the contest to be streamed online on ESPN+ and fuboTV.
No. 1 Baylor is slated to host Oklahoma State at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday.