McClung, No. 17 Texas Tech bid to stay hot vs. Grambling

·3 min read

Mac McClung seems to have found his place at Texas Tech, a notion that was verified again Friday night.

One of the team's three high-profile transfers this season, McClung led the 17th-ranked Red Raiders in scoring for the fourth time in as many games in an 80-46 victory against Troy.

The versatile guard and his teammates look to continue their success on Sunday when Grambling State comes to Lubbock, Texas.

McClung notched his second 20-point game of the season on Friday. He is averaging 18.5 points per outing in his brief career with Texas Tech.

"I think above all, Mac is trying and he has bought in," Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said of the transfer from Georgetown. "He didn't come down here thinking he had all the answers."

With McClung as the catalyst, Texas Tech (3-1) got rid of the bad taste of its first loss this season by rolling past the Trojans on Friday.

The Red Raiders ended the drama quickly by racing to a 47-22 halftime lead after shooting a blistering 64.3 percent (18 of 28) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. McClung was at the eye of the storm, scoring eight points during a 17-0 run that broke open a three-point game and left Texas Tech with a 29-9 cushion.

McClung and Kyler Edwards both produced four 3-pointers to help the Red Raiders connect on a season-best 11 shots from beyond the arc. As a team, Texas Tech recorded 20 assists on 28 made field goals.

That offensive performance came on the heels of a 64-53 loss to Houston on Nov. 29 when every offensive possession, every shot, every point appeared to be a major chore.

"I feel like we came out and we were ready to play," Red Raiders guard Micah Peavy said. "Against Houston, we weren't mature, we didn't come out to play. In practice, we talked about being locked in for this game, and we did that."

Added forward Tyreek Smith, "We knew we had to make a statement Friday. We really did a good job at doing exactly that."

Stacking another statement-making performance against Grambling (1-2) is the goal Sunday.

The Tigers are coming off their first win of the season, a 68-59 decision against East Texas Baptist on Thursday.

Grambling fell behind by a point with just under 13 minutes to play but tightened up on defense and outscored ETBU 24-14 the rest of the way. Grambling limited the visitors to 25 percent shooting (8 of 32) in the second half.

Similarly to Texas Tech, Grambling benefitted from a pair of transfers from Division I programs: Cam Christon from Boise State and Brian Thomas from Florida Gulf Coast.

Christon has produced a pair of double-digit scoring games. In a road loss at Arizona on Nov. 27, it was junior college transfer Cameron Woodall leading the way with 19 points.

Grambling's two losses came on a road swing to Arizona -- 69-53 to Grand Canyon in Phoenix on Nov. 25, then a 74-55 setback to Arizona in Tucson two days later.

Tigers' coach Donte' Jackson said playing Texas Tech won't be much different than playing Arizona.

"I told our guys it's just like a game like Arizona," Jackson told KTAL-TV in Shreveport, La. "You're playing a team that's a top-25 program, everybody's going to be good so you have to go out there and compete at a high level. You've got to go figure it out."

--Field Level Media