Player of the Game: Gosh, hard to pick just one guy. There were five guys in double figures. I’ll go with Tommy Hamilton, who had 13 points to go along with 7 rebounds and looked good in the post even though he was going against a big Florida Atlantic frontcourt. We really need that sort of performance from Hamilton in the Big 12.
High Flyer of the Game: This is pretty much going to be either the Smith’s or Culver for every game, I’ll go with Zhaire Smith, who just elevates so much when he attacks the basket.
Defender of the Game: We’ll go with Jarrett Culver, who had 4 steals and was ridiculously aggressive on defense and just pressured FAU offensive players enough to just take the ball from them a couple of times and then Culver went out and got a couple of blocks as well.
Multi-Purpose Player of the Game: Zhaire Smith scored 10 points on 3 of 6 from the field, made all of his free throws, grabbed 5 rebounds, had 2 assists, just 1 turnover, 1 block and 3 steals.
- The big note that started the game was that Zach Smith didn’t start. Head coach Chris Beard said after the game that Zach didn’t do something right and there were consequences to those actions. Beard emphasized that Zach is a good player and a good kid and we all make mistakes, and that he’ll be back in the starting lineup on Friday. Smith did look a bit more aggressive offensively and I do think that’s something he needs to do. He was going up againsta a really big frontcourt and that hampered him a bit, but I like the aggressive moves to the basket. I’d rather have that than passive Zach Smith.
- The first half was relatively close and FAU kept things within 7 at halftime, but the Texas Tech pressure defense really kicked in the second half. Texas Tech struggled against the FAU big men, and they started a big frontcourt and Texas Tech really struggled to do muster a consistent offense initially. FAU ended up with 19 turnovers and Texas Tech had 12 steals on the night. There were times that FAU just looked uncomfortable just handling the ball and that’s sorta odd. Even more odd is that you get this uneven performance and Texas Tech still wins by 36.
- A large part of that second half resurgence was hitting 11 of 16 three-point shots. Niem Stevenson hit all three of his 3’s and Hamilton and Culver each hit both of their three-point shots. Texas Tech only made 14 three-point shots all game, so as you can tell, they were absolutely on fire for the second half.
- As mentioned above, picking a player of the game isn’t easy because there were five guys that scored in double figures. You also could have given player of the game to Davide Moretti, who scored 14 points on 6 of 9 from the field, grabbed 3 boards, 1 steal, had 2 assists and no turnovers.
- I haven’t even gotten to the leading scorer, Keenan Evans finished with 15 points on 4 of 9, had 6 assists to only 2 turnovers.
- Texas Tech did have 20 assists to just 8 turnovers on the night and that’s a pretty fantastic ratio. Things were a lot more smooth in the second half in terms of passing the ball because Texas Tech was just draining three’s. But ball movement and open players makes a pretty significant difference.
- There’s one more warm-up game before conference play starts after the Christmas break. Texas Tech will host Abilene Christian on Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.