Player of the Game | Brandone Francis had a hot hand in the 1st half, but Jarrett Culver finished the game with the best stat line overall. Culver almost had a double-double with a team high 16 points going 6-11 (3-7 3pt) and adding 9 rebounds.
Stat of the Game | Shooting was the real stat that was lopsided; the Longhorns outgunned the Red Raiders by hitting 51.1% (23-45) to our 38.2% (21-55). From outside Texas drained 40% (6-15) versus Texas Tech 25.9% (7-27). The Longhorns made the most of their looks; and Tech was caught trying to throw up shots to try and catch-up. It was not pretty.
How the Game was Lost | The Longhorns were the more physical and dominant team. Their size and length prevented Texas Tech from getting good opportunities to score. When the Red Raiders needed stops, that is when Texas took the ball to the basket and pushed us around. Defensively the Red Raiders needed to play from behind all game, and couldn’t get the energy or a run going without Texas answering or stopping momentum.
Also, they took Keenan Evans out of the contest. He had a terrible night with 11 points on 3-8 shooting, while going 0-5 from beyond the arc. He had 4 turnovers with only 2 assists. We have turned to Evans in the past when we needed some big plays, and he was off his game tonight.
Turning Point | With around 3 minutes left in the match Tech was down by 7 points, and Davis hit a 3 for the Longhorns to give the game a 60-50 score. At that moment it seemed it was going to be almost impossible to get back in it the way that the Red Raiders were playing on offense. Texas took the double digit lead and did everything they needed to stay out in front.
Team Observations | This game was one that we really missed Zach Smith. The Longhorns had the bigger guys, and we looked much weaker inside on offense and defense than if Zach had been playing. Our issues in the frontcourt have not been a problem when we are hitting our shots and our smaller athletic lineup steps up on defense. Yet, we also rely on our depth to exhaust the bigger guys. It did not happen tonight.
Time to regroup, and get back at it. The Red Raiders will have some off nights against teams, and need to figure out how we are going to play against the bigger, more physical teams in the Big 12. Texas playing a slower paced game seemed to affect our rhythm. We thrive off of gaining energy off turnovers and generate offense that way. Texas took a page out of the Tubby Smith playbook and did not hurry the game up at all. Something that other teams might try against us in the future. Texas Tech is not going anywhere and will learn from this game, so we are ready for it next time we come across an opponent. We are still a top team in the Big 12 and the nation, and we need to get back to rolling to our own tune.