Player of the Game: I’ll go with Zhaire Smith, who was one of only two players to score in double figures with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, but he also had 5 turnovers. It was a really tough night for Zhaire and Culver in the turnover department. I’d have to guess that Zhaire scored most of his 15 points in the first half as he just didn’t have many opportunities in the second.
High Flyer of the Game: Zhaire again gets the nod. He was athletic and unbelievable in the first half. Grabbing offensive rebounds and that dunk off the inbounds play was spectacular.
Defender of the Game: I’m going to give it to Norense Odiase, who helped limit Acuil to just 7 points and 8 rebounds. He’s usually a double-double guy, but he was held in check for most of the game.
Multi-Purpose Player of the Game: Justin Gray had 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and a block with zero turnovers in his 28 minutes. He could have been the player of the game as well and he didn’t have the 5 turnovers.
- This was a tough one. Texas Tech has been on the right side of these games for most of the year and you get a sense of what this team is without Keenan Evans. It’s a team that struggles offensively with direction and a team that struggles to score. That’s a problem if Evan’s toe, which is apparently the injury, is long-term. That would absolutely stink for a team that has played so hard and done so much over the season. At this point, you should realize how important it was that CJ Roberts transferred to Texas Tech as he’ll be avilable in December of 2019. This team probably needs another steadying hand at point guard to make plays.
- There were a lot of folks upset at the way the refs swallowed their whistles at the end of the game, looking like Baylor fouling both Jarrett Culver and Tommy Hamilton on their final shots and yeah, it does look like the defenders hit quite a bit of wrist. I can’t make you feel any better about it. It happens. I also think that the refs let the teams play pretty rough defense, both teams shot terribly and Texas Tech gets the benefit of that very tough defense too. Of course, Texas Tech also had 2 players foul out, Justin Gray and Norense Odiase.
- I mentioned above that Texas Tech will need someone that will make plays for Texas Tech. Right now, Josh Webster and Davide Moretti are the two back-up point guards in a way, although I’d imagine that Beard would maybe play Francis in the lineup, but whatever. In any event, Moretti and Webster are fine as ball handlers, but they don’t make plays offensively and that’s a problem for how this team played in the second half. I think Jarrett Culver took a lot of the responsibility in trying to “do something” offensively and it wasn’t his best game. Culver went 3 of 16 from the floor with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 5 turnovers. Again, he tried to do something and it didn’t work out. It just wasn’t his night and it wasn’t for lack of effort.
- The defensive effort was still there, Texas Tech held Baylor to 33% shooting for the game and even without Evans, Texas Tech could still have a shot at beating some opponents just because the defense has been so good.
- The vaunted bench for Texas Tech wasn’t as good as it has been, scoring only 11 points. Tommy Hamilton and Brandone Francis didn’t force shots, which is fine, but they maybe could have been a bit more aggressive offensively with Evans out. Someone is going to need to fill that offensive void.
- Norense Odiase started the game fouling Lecomte on a three-point shot and he ended up fouling out after only playing 20 minutes. I would have loved to have that foul down the stretch.
- Head coach Chris Beard on the game:
“I just want to congratulate Baylor on a good Big 12, protect your home court win,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. “I got a lot of respect for Coach Drew and the program he has ran here over many years. The consistency he has speaks for itself. I thought Baylor played really hard. We were trying with our defense to speed them up a little bit, but they had a low turnover game. I think shows a lot about their guard play, ball handling and really coaching. I thought Terry Maston was the best player on the floor today. Congratulations for him, that’s back to back all-conference type games for him. We always recognize when other players play well. For my point of view, we wish we would have played better. 18 turnovers is way too many. I take a lot of that responsibility myself as the coach, but you got to give Baylor credit. They were the ones who were making us turn it over.”
- Up next is Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Let’s hope that Evans is good and he can go on Wednesday. College Game Day is coming to Lubbock for Kansas on Saturday, it would be terrific to have Evans back for that for sure.