Player of the Game: Zhaire Smith. Just an unbelievable game from the freshman as he was all over the court, offensively and defensively. Smith was 7 of 8 from the floor and 6 of 6 from the free throw line with 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 2 turnovers (only 9 for the team overall). He was just amazing.
High Flyer of the Game: Zhaire. There were so many times he started something on the defensive end and then finished it offensively or the other way around. Just watch the highlights. They’re full of dunks on dunks and blocks on blocks.
Defender of the Game: Zhaire wins the day.
Multi-Purpose Player of the Game: I could give this to Zhaire who filled up the box score even more, but we’ll go with Jarrett Culver, who had 16 points on 5 of 8 from the floor, including 6 of 7, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and no turnovers.
- This game was blown up by Beard going to a 5 guard lineup that eventually wore out Iowa State at the end of the game. Beard just said eff it, we’ll let Lard get his pionts, but if I put 5 guards on the floor and drive and dish to the basket, he’ll eventually foul out because he can’t help himself but to make silly fouls. That’s exactly what happened. With 7 minutes remaining, the score was 57-53, Texas Tech, and then the rain came down. Texas Tech would go on a 19-5 run to end the game, all with 5 guards in the game. Iowa State, with a short bench and no answers to be able to match-up with Texas Tech just withered away.
- Zhaire Smith was incredible and I tweeted out after the game that for my money, he may be the most athletic player to ever wear a Texas Tech uniform. That’s a bold statement (as Vincent Vega would say) and I’m sure we could have a good talk about whether it would be Darvin Ham or someone else, but he’s in the discussion for sure. I’ve just never seen someone like him elevate the way that he does and have such control over his body. It’s fun as hell watching him play.
- Another good free throw shooting game, 84% for the day and Texas Tech will have another stinker hitting free throws, probably on the road, but these guys are okay.
- Speaking of free throws, before anyone says that this game was officiated poorly, Texas Tech had 19 free throw attempts and Iowa State had 17. That’s about as even as you’ll get on any given day in the Big 12 and for the home team to only hold a 2 free throw advantage is nothing.
- If you ever think about it, watch Josh Webster on the bench when he’s not playing. There isn’t a bigger cheerleader on the team when he’s not in the game. He’s emotional and almost always urging his team on. I have no doubt that he’s a terrific teammate and his 10 minutes in the first half were instrumental. Keenan Evans was in a bit of foul trouble and Webster came in and ran the team very well. He contributed, helped cause a couple of steals and kept Iowa State at bay in the first half.
- We haven’t really even talked about Evans, but he had 15 points on 6 of 16, so not his best shooting night, but he really poured it on in the second half. His drives to the basket were really fun.
- Beard mentioned it after the game, but this wasn’t a good night for the big men, Norense Odiase and Tommy Hamilton. They really struggled with the athleticism of Iowa State’s bigs and that’s been a recurring theme for this group.
- Head coach Chris Beard:
“I’m appreciative of the crowd tonight. Another great Big 12 crowd. Our attendance, we are so proud of it. I’m really appreciative of our players too. They are the ones that are having this kind of season that people want to come out and support them. I give our players a lot of credit for the increase in attendance. The same with our administration and all of the people that go into this. Our ticket office, marketing, promotions and everything, I really appreciate everyone’s efforts. Season ticket holders and again tonight the students that came out. Hopefully, everyone is having some fun. We’re going to try to keep this thing rolling. It’s a special time of the year for college basketball when you’re relative. We’ve worked really hard in our second year here, and I think we’re relative in the month of February. I’m very very appreciative of our crowd. I’m pleased to win tonight. We have a lot of respect for Iowa State’s program. Some of their key players are out. They still played courageous and played really hard. We knew it was going to be a 40‐minute game, and it ended up being one. A lot of respect for their players and coach. We’re just pleased to get another Big 12 victory.”
- Texas Tech is the first team to 20 wins in the Big 12 and at 8-3 in the Big 12, the Red Raiders will face Kansas State in Manhattan on Saturday. That’s five in a row for this team, which is pretty impressive.