Texas Tech did the improbable and beat Oklahoma State, 63-62, thanks in large part to a last second three-pointer made by Devaugntah Williams to put Texas Tech up by 1 with 1.3 seconds left in the game. Texas Tech won on Senior Day, sending the three seniors on this team, Robert Turner, Clark Lammert and Luke Adams, out with a win in their final home game. We’ve got five thoughts, highlights and stats all after the jump.
Star of the Game: Robert Turner, Clark Lammbert and Luke Adams — Why not, right? Robert Turner played fantastic defense on Phil Forte pretty much the entire game and when it wasn’t Turner, it was Adams who was covering Forte. Turner fought through screens and everything else to make sure that Forte only got off 4 shots. Lammert played fantastic defense for all of his 26 minutes, grabbing 6 rebounds, had 2 fantastic passes to Odiase for easy buckets as Clark was on the high post, he took at least 1 charge.
1. Shooting Lights Out. Texas Tech is a very tough team to beat when they hit their three-point shots, going 10 of 16 for the game, including 6 of 10 from the three-point line in the first half and 4 of 6 in the second half. At the end of the first half, Texas Tech went on a three-point shooting barrage as Toddrick Gotcher made two three-pointers in the last 0:50 seconds and of all things, Norense Odiase made a three-pointer with 0:02 seconds remaining. Oklahoma State would make a furious comeback and took in the lead in the second half with the same approach on Texas Tech as they made 8 of 13 three-point shots in the second half. The game came down to the last two three-pointers as Jeffrey Carroll hit a three-point shot with 0:13 seconds left and it was really a terrific bit of slight of hand by Tubby Smith. Williams, the best shooter on the team was screening Zach Smith, who threw in the ball. Oklahoma State was so concerned about the screen that Williams set and worried that Smith was going to do something that you had two Oklahoma State defenders bite on that screen. Williams just pops out after setting that back screen and he’s got five feet to shoot and wide open three-pointer.
That’s Zach Smith throwing in the ball.
That’s Williams setting the screen and I think Oklahoma State is supposed to be switching defenders, but that doesn’t really happen smoothly.
That’s the five feet of open space that Williams has to get a shot off.
2. How It Is Supposed To Work. The high-low between Odiase and Lammert was how things are supposed to work with the offense. The couple of times that Lammert dropped a pass down to Odiase who had sealed his man was really brilliant and I think what we’re going to see next year is the combination of this high-low game and the screens by the post players to open up and allow the guards to pop open for a three-point shot. Odiase looked terrific, making 6 of 9 shots and 1 of 4 from the line for 14 points. And he did it all in 20 minutes. He was really a force down low and was the lone guy that created something other than those three-point shots.
3. 13 to 12. Another game where Texas Tech had more assists than turnovers. A relatively rare occurence for Texas Tech, but you had the senior, Turner, dishing out 4 assists to only 1 turnover and Gotcher had 3 assists to no turnovers. The other guard that saw significant time, Williams, was a bit more wild, 3 assists to 3 turnovers, but he did hit a pretty big shot. Overall, to only lose 12 possessions to turnovers is pretty terrific, losing only 20% to turnovers, while Oklahoma State lost 26% to turnovers.
4. Free Throws Almost Got It. Texas Tech only made 62.5% of their free throws, 15 of 24 and had it not been the fact that Texas Tech made as many free throws as Oklahoma State shot, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. In the offseason, this has to be a pretty sifnificant point of improvement. The biggest offender yesterday was Odiase, but the normally reliable Luke Adams missed the front end of two free throws, as did Keenan Evans.
5. Congrats to the Improbable. I really do envision a day when we don’t get to talk about upset wins and winning the improbable game. Texas Tech was clearly out-matched athletically, but that didn’t stop Texas Tech from winning a game that more than likely is going to the NCAA Tournament. I think that this group is headed there pretty quickly and if the plan I envision is accurate, I see next year being an NIT invite and the next year being the NCAA Tournament. I won’t be burying this thought in the fifth point in a game recap, but it is time to sign Tubby Smith and the rest of the crew to extensions. Tubby Smith signed a six year contract for $1.8 million a year in 2013 and there would nothing that would make me happier than to invest in Smith and give him two more years, his recruits and fans some peace of mind knowing that Smith is in for the long haul. And this isn’t a case as to where I think that Smith is going somewhere else, but to reward him for navigating Texas Tech through two of the toughest years a coach has had to weather given the state of the program two years ago.