Iowa State 76, Texas Tech 69
* The Flex is a shout-out to Tubby Smith’s flex offense and a place for us to set some screens, make some cuts and discuss the game.
- Texas Tech really was in this game up until the end and believe it or not, that’s progress for this team. Iowa State is a highly efficient and darn near unstoppable on offense. Texas Tech held Iowa State to 40% from the field, but the problem was that Texas Tech allowed Iowa State to make 8 three-point attempts. this thing is progressing.
- Iowa State can score so fast. You blink and you miss an offensive set. And they can shoot incredibly well. That’s a very tough thing to guard, but it can be even more tough for a team like Texas Tech to keep pace to an extent. Texas Tech is still a developing offensive team and they have to work to get buckets.
- Texas Tech flipped to a bit of zone defense late in the first half to try to slow things down. Texas Tech was having a heck of a time doubling down on the interior players and then running out to protect the three-point line. That zone didn’t stick for long, but it did stop the flow of Iowa State for a bit.
- Iowa State went on a pretty serious run in the first half and it looked like Texas Tech was going to run away with the game. But Texas Tech stuck with it. The team didn’t really look rattled, they just kept plugging away. One of the ways that Texas Tech got back in teh game was Iowa State getting into foul trouble. their frontcourt was very much in trouble for the first half of the game and this meant that Niang didn’t get a ton of burn in the first half as he had two fouls early and then got his third foul late in the first half. Iowa State is not a deep team and if you’re looking for a way for Texas Tech to get the upset in Lubbock, this would be it.
- Texas Tech did not take advantage of the free throw line in the first half, making only 6 of 11 free throws, but the shooting woes were really from beyond the three-point line where Texas Tech was 0 for 9 in the first half. I thought that Toddrick Gotcher and Devaugntah Williams’ three-point attempts were ill-advised at best and not really good clean shots for the most part. Gotcher has been hot from outside, but don’t shoot yourself out of a game.
- Texas Tech started out strong in the second half, after being down by 10 at the half, Texas Tech just kept plugging away and Iowa State really seemed to slow down their offense and they just werne’t moving the ball up and down the court. By the time you knew it, Texas Tech was down 49-48 with 11:49 left in the half. That run by Texas Tech was largely because of some timely three-point shots by Williams and Justin Gray, who was a guy that could really put the ball on the floor and create some offense with his length.
- Keenan Evans went out early in the second half with three fouls and that meant that Texas Tech had to run with a lineup of Williams and Gotcher in the backcourt and Gray, Smith and Odiase in the frontcourt. Thomas did see a little burn at the back-up point guard spot, but Smith went without a true point guard for a good part of the second half.
- Norense Odiase was in foul trouble late in the second half and the offense almost came to a stand stiill. Texas Tech really didn’t have an inside presence and it wasn’t until about 5 minutes left in the second half that Texas Tech was able to shoot their first free throws of the second half. That was problematic for the Red Raiders as they were looking to keep pace with Iowa State, which continued to make shots.
- Toddrick Gotcher didn’t have a great firt half, but he did play much better in the second. Gotcher couldn’t hit anything from deep, but he was effective inside the three-point line, finishing with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Devaugntah Williams also recovered int he second half as well. Overall, he had a very rough night shooting the ball, but he is infinitely more effective as a scorer than as a shooter. He needs to remember that
- I felt that Zach Smith didn’t assert himself as much as he had in previous games. He still had some highlight dunks, but he wasn’t aggressive offensively and he didn’t look to be a leader scoring the ball offensively when maybe this team needed a punch. As always, he was around the basket and looking to make an impact when he could, but part of Smith’s maturation is being more assertive on the offensive end.
- Justin Gray’s length and ball-handling skills really did come in handy in the second half. Gray was able to get to the line and make some much needed buckets. Without Gray’s efforts in the second half, I don’t know that Texas Tech is able to stay in this game.
- Texas Tech had a tough time stopping Matt Thomas of all people, the guy that averaged under double-figures ended up with a terrific game. I mentioned before the game that Texas Tech would have to close out on those three-point shooters, but Thomas killed Texas Tech all night.
- The announcers mentioned that Texas Tech lost by 37 to Iowa State last year in Hilton. I think this game might be an indication as to how far this team has come for Texas Tech. Don’t get lost in the result, especially on the road against a ranked opponent, but do concern yourself with the process.