Basketball

Texas Tech Nearly Pulls off the Upset, Falls to West Virginia 80-76

Texas Tech pushed West Virginia to the limit but was unable to pull off the upset, losing the Mountaineers.

West Virginia 80, Texas Tech 76

* 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.

  • The Red Raiders lost a heart-breaker. It seemed like Texas Tech would swin this game, up 4 with a minute left. This is usually the sign of a young team who is learning how to play big-time basketball. These games hurt like heck. Go ahead and add the Baylor game as well, just not enough to actually get the win. You can credit youth or inexperience or just not knowing how to win, but these are painful pills to swallow.
  • The Big 12 refs decided that they would be the show, especially in the second half. It was one foul after another and the game lacked any flow as a result of how the refs called the game. There were 49 fouls called and 62 free throws by both teams. That’s simply ridiculous.
  • The game started out incredibly slowly for Texas Tech. Lots of turnovers, almost no shots and very little in the way of offense other than lots of made free throws. It seemed like Texas Tech was going to get blown out simply because the Red Raiders could hardly get the ball in bounds and down the court to get the offense started. Texas Tech battled back, multiple times during the first half. Texas Tech found themselves down by 10 with about 4 and a half minutes left and it looked like the route was on.
  • Texas Tech responded with a three-ball with Texas Tech down 33-23 and that’s when things started to turn their way towards Texas Tech. A Zach Smith alley-oop slam from Toddrick Gotcher and another three-pointer by Gotcher helped bring Texas Tech within 4 in the first half. On that second three-pointer, Smith nearly hits his face on the backboard. Another Zach Smith alley-oop from Devon Thomas and the Red Raiders tie the son of a gun up when C.J. Williamson tips a ball free and goes coast-to-coast for a slam and a foul to earn a three-point play. Just a huge turn of events as Texas Tech leads at the half.
  • Rokus Ulvydas had his redshirt removed. Matt Temple started the game, but that start was essentially two fouls and a few minutes and Temple saw the bench for pretty much the entire first half. Ulvydas saw spot minutes, mainly when Texas Tech was in a zone, which is pretty smart. Ulvydas provably can play okay defense, but he needs help and playing in a zone gives him plenty of help. Ulvydas made two free throws for his first two college buckets.
  • C.J. Williamson saw lots of minutes too, with Justin Gray a bit hobbled in the first half (not sure, maybe an ankle or a knee, but he did come back) and you can see how and where his ball-handling skills will come into play. Williamson also got the start in the second half over Gotcher, who was plagued with three fouls. That’s a good move by Smith not to start the guy that could be unplayable if he fouled early in the second half.
  • The game started in the second half with little action and lots of fouls. In fact, fouls were a huge player in the rest of the game as Texas Tech would go 32 of 34 from the free throw line. Texas Tech stayed in this game solely because of how they preformed at the line. It was admirable.
  • Zach Smith led Texas Tech with 18 points and was simply terrific. He dunked all over the place and played above the rim the entire game.
  • Justin Gray continues to be the most consistent player on the team, finishing with 11 points and 6 rebounds. He can jusst change so much offensively and defensively when the ball is in his hands. He is the most versatile player Texas Tech has.
  • Texas Tech finished the game with 17 turnovers and just 10 assists on the day. That West Virginia press got Texas Tech early, but because of the way the refs called the game, it seemed that the West Virginia press wasn’t that big of a factor.
  • Devaugntah Williams continues to simply disappear. He played near invisible minutes and had only 1 shot for the game with no points and 3 turnovers in very little time. Williams really has to be a scoring leader for this team, but he has completely disappeared from this team and I can’t figure out why.
  • Toddrick Gotcher did come back some this game. He was only 2 of 7 from the field, but he finished with 12 points, which is an improvement on how he’s been playing. Gotcher also had 4 steals on the game, which is huge for this team, getting turnovers and more opportunities for this team.

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