Kansas State 83, Texas Tech 70
* 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.
- K-State was over-playing everything on offense and then they did a terrific job of playing the lanes so that the backdoor entry passes weren’t there. Texas Tech couldn’t muster a good shot for a long period of time in the first half. Nothing was working. Heck, there was a time early in the game where Tubby Smith yanked Devaugntah Williams and Keenan Evans early, I think because of a defensive rotation.
- It didn’t help that K-State was hitting everything. Coming into this game, Kansas State was not a good shooting team, but they were on fire in the first half. K-State shot incredibly well from beyond the three-point line and they were runnin’ and gunnin’ on the fast break as well. This appeared to be Kansas State’s best offensive outing all year. They looked terrific.
- Of course, this was yet another half where Williams was all but absent. The only two things I remember from the first half with Williams was getting yanked early and throwing up a three-point shot that just hit the backboard. Justin Gray played quite a bit for Williams and he did produce. Now, Toddrick Gotcher needs to get on track.
- Tubby decided at some point in the first half to press man-to-man on made free throws and buckets in an attempt to slow down the game. That only worked to an extent and the end of the first half was a disaster where Texas Tech played terrific defense, forced a terrible shot by K-State, K-State grabs the offensive board, a ball going out of bounds, and throws it to a shooter open who hits a three-point shot.
- K-State came out the team that knew they needed the win more than Texas Tech. It will be interesting to see how Texas Tech responds in the second half.
- The defense to start the second half was significantly turned up from the first half. Texas Tech was running fullcourt pressure for the second half and the effort was significantly better. Ross started the second half and added a bit of nimbleness to the lineup. Texas Tech ended up battling back to within 9 with 15 minutes to play. An Aaron Ross three-point shot and Texas Tech draws within 6 points.
- Justin Gray is really terrific. A true force on both ends of the court for this game. He crashed the boards and his length caused so many problems for Kansas State. His effort and tenacity pulled Texas Tech back. Really a terrific performance.
- Whatever comeback there was, it was a direct result of the defensive effort. It wasn’t perfect, but had Texas Tech played with that sort of intensity in the first half, I think we’re talking about a much different game.
- K-State made a run and they turned up the defensive pressure and pushed the lead back to 16 with a blink of an eye. It was the defensive pressure from K-State that ended up being the difference and Texas Tech just folded. Turnovers and inefficient offensive sets resulted in the game being close to slipping away way too quickly.
- Don’t get too down on this team. It’s tough to win on the road in the Big 12 and it’s really tough to win on the road when the opposing team shoots lights out and plays near perfect defense in the first half. This is part of getting over the hump as a team and a program. Winning on the road. Heck, Kansas loses to West Virginia on the road and Texas Tech is able to make a near game out of playing the #1 team in the nation. Road games are tough and if anything, this may have showed how this team can’t sit back and think that anything is assumed. It’s not. I think they know that, but it’s good to be reminded every once in a while.
- Gray really was terrific, but the supporting cast really needs to put their head out of their tail. This has to be a collective effort from the team and there were times that they simply just didn’t show up. There were only two players that scored in double-figures, Aaron Ross, who had 11 and Justin Gray, who finished with 23. Gray made 5 of 7 from beyond the three-point line. Baylor is on Saturday. Have to get it together.