Texas Tech 77, West Virginia 76
- What a game. Just unbelievable and I thought that Texas Tech was going to kick the game away like Iowa State at the end of regulation (don’t ask me why, just wasn’t feeling confident). It seemed like Anthony Livingston made big shot after big shot, but that belittles the fact that the entire team really did a great job making shots after shots.
- When I previewed the game, I looked at the Temple game where the Owls made three-point shots, but still turned the ball over. Well, Texas Tech took part of that equation as they made over 51% of their three point shots, but of all things, Texas Tech forced more turnovers than they gave up, 14-13. Yeah, that’s right, Texas Tech only turned the ball over 13 times and forced 14 West Virginia turnovers.
- Head coach Chris Beard talked about the huge play of Niem Stevenson and Shadell Millinghaus coming up big:
“I thought Niem Stevenson grew up in front of all of us tonight to be the kind of player we recruited him to be,” Beard said. “I thought Shoddy [Shadell Millinghaus] did a good job of calming us down and really impacting the game with some of his heart and fight. Everybody that played in this game made plays at different times. [Aaron] Ross got in to some foul trouble, but he made a couple free throws late … Depth is our identity. It’s no secret. So, tonight we won this game with everybody playing a role. Some of the guys that may not have played in the game and some of our redshirts helped us win this game in practice this week being the West Virginia press as part of the scout team. This game was won in practice with our preparation.”
- The other part of the equation is that West Virginia just didn’t shoot as well and they didn’t make their free throws. Strangely, West Virginia only made 33% of their three-point shots and only made 13 of 24 free throws, for 54%. The Mountaineers normally make 64% of their free throws so they aren’t shooting it great, but a 10% drop is huge.
- Texas Tech did shoot well, making 51% of their shot, 54% of their three-point shots and 20 of their 30 free throws. That’s huge, to have an efficient offensive team. And the fact that this team shares the ball so danged well. There were only 16 assists, but just about every player can pass the ball and that makes a huge difference.
- The players of the game? Give me Livingston and Stevenson and Smith? Livingston made 5 of 11 shots, including 2 of 5 three-point shots, scoring 12 points, grabbing 2 rebounds, an assist and just 1 turnover. Zach Smith finished with 15 points, leading the team in scoring, to go along with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 turnovers, plus 2 huge blocks. Stevenson was huge and if this is the player he’s going to mature into then sign me up. Niem finished with 13 points on 3 of 8 from the floor, plus 2 of 2 from the three-point line plus 8 rebounds, leading the team, 4 assists, a block and no turnovers.
- This was an odd game in that both Justin Gray and Keenan Evans fouled out. Evans played incredibly well, scoring 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 turnovers, but the foul trouble was a problem. Same thing for Gray, who was 4 for 4 from the floor scoring 9 points, but only registered 1 rebound.
- Texas Tech was consistent through the game, making 52% of their shots in the first half and 50% of their shots in the second half. Texas Tech was getting killed on the boards in the first half, but battled back to lose the rebounding edge by just 3, 32-29. Texas Tech handled themselves nicely in the paint too, not getting backed down by West Virginia. Texas Tech scored 26 points in the paint and WVU scored 32.
- Some of the ancillary players that had to step up, head coach Chris Beard mentioned after the game the defense of Shadell Millinghaus, who saw minimal time against Iowa State, but played 20 minutes, scoring 6 points, 2 rebounds an assist and a turnover. Devon Thomas played 4 minutes, scored 5 points, had 3 boards, 3 assists and 1 turnover.
- I want Aaron Ross to shoot more than he is.
- This was pretty big win with this three-game stretch, where Texas Tech opened with Iowa State on the road, home against West Virginia and on the road against Kansas. I didn’t want Texas Tech to start 0-3, and beating the #7 team in the nation sure does make this team significantly better. With last night’s win, Texas Tech is now up to #26 in the KenPom rankings.