Texas Tech 77, High Point 73
* The Flex is a shoutout to Tubby Smith’s flex offense and a place for us to set some screens, make some cuts and discuss the game.
- The game started really rough, with Texas Tech really unable to get into the flow of an offense. I texted with Dan and mentioned that Devon Thomas looked better early, especially running the offense, as Keenan Evans looked nervous and Texas Tech had a difficult time getting the offense in a decent set and shot. Of course, when Thomas came in, the defensive intensity by High Point had waned a bit and Evans got the Panther’s best punch early. Still, I think the idea here is that Evans has got to learn to be “the man” when it comes to running the offense and take control. He’s got to set it up and make sure that the team gets a good look. He’s still young and learning, while Thomas has played prep league and two years in JUCO ball, so it’s nice to have that option if Evans is getting the job done. I’m not at all giving up on Evans, I think he’s got as much potential to be great as any of the other sophomores on this team. I also mentioned to Dan, late in the second half that when Evans was in the game, that Evans wasn’t getting any looks down low, but that was a bit unfair too because the only two post players that saw much time in the second half was Aaron Ross and Zach Smith, so Tubby Smith wanted a guard oriented offense out there to combat High Point. Smith is said to be really tough on point guards and I would think that it will be no different with Evans and Thomas
- The best part of Evan’s play was that he didn’t turn the ball over and that’s a big step for him. Evans also didn’t earn but one assist, and that’s what I’m talking about in terms of setting up his teammates. Evans also has to focus on his defense. Tubby pulled Evans out late for his lackluster defense and that will earn him a demotion quicker than anything he does on offense.
- The player of the game was Devaugntah Williams, who was 9 of 14 from teh floor and 4 of 7 from the three-point line, scoring 26 points and playing 36 minutes. Williams has a tendency to be hit-or-miss and when he’s on, there are few shooters that are much better than Williams. He was also productive off the ball, grabbing 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 turnovers.
- Justin Gray came off the bench to score 12 points in the second half, 3 of 5 from the field and 1 of 3 from the three-point line, while making 5 of 6 from the line. I’m down for Gray being this teams second best shooter. I tend to rave about Gray’s mid-range game and that’s true, he does have a terrific mid-range game. If he’s added a decent three-point shot then this makes him that much more dangerous. Gray had a ton of energy and if he is back, then this team is dangerous.
- I mentioned that Tubby Smith went to a smaller lineup and that worked pretty well for the most part. Smith only played Norense Odiase only 9 minutes and Isaiah Manderson only 11 minutes for the entire game. I think this was more about playing a smaller High Point team and keeping pace. John Brown is the biggest player on the floor for High Point and Cugini is really just an outside shooter, so having Odiase and Manderson was a liability in this particular game.
- Tubby has options. In fact, I think that he’s at the point where he has a pretty good second five that he can throw into the game if any of the starting five aren’t getting done. I don’t think that Smith has had this type of depth since he’s been here, 1 through 10 or 11.
- Toddrick Gotcher was near perfect in his second exhibition but was 0 for 6 this game, including 0 for 5 from the three-point line. That’s always been Gotcher’s problem, is with consistency. Gotcher did end up scoring 7 points going 7 of 8 from the free throw line and he also grabbed 6 rebounds to go along with 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 block and 2 steals.
- Aaron Ross is going to be a big part of this team and that’s a good thing. Mention was made that Ross lost weight this offseason and he does look lighter on his feet and Texas Tech needed a power forward option to Zach Smith and Ross is going to fill that role nicely. As a power forward combo, Ross had 3 points, 6 boards, 2 assists, a turnover, steal and block. Smith had 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers (this isn’t good) and a block.
- Devon Thomas was a nice substitution for Evans and he finished with 9 points on the day, going 3 of 5 from the floor and 3 of 4 from the free throw line. He did a good job of getting to the rim and also has a nice array of mid-range shots in and around the paint. I hope he can do this in Big 12 play.
- The game was very close at the end. Texas Tech had a 10 point lead late, but High Point came roaring back with some three-point shots. Texas Tech pulled back and ended up being on the right side of the the free throw game that happens late in games. High Point was rated higher than Texas Tech in most publications, by a pretty good amount. I couldn’t find a line for this game, but I would have guessed that High Point would have been favored, slightly, even though Texas Tech was playing at home.
- Texas Tech was terrible in transition defense, allowing 22 High Point points off of turnovers, but Texas Tech ended up being a deeper team, scoring 26 points off the bench in comparison to High Point’s 18.
- There were 55 personal fouls called and at times, this game was just crawling and tough to watch.