Player of the Game: KEENAN! Seriously, he’s so fun to watch and Keenan is the difference between going really far in the tournament and going home early. The way he took over the game was just incredible and the way he made TCU foul him and so emotional through the game. He wanted this game. Evans played only 26 minutes, but scored 23 in the second half alone, made all 10 of his free throws, had 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and just 1 turnover.
High Flyer of the Game: That alleyoop by Zach from Keenan was a thing of beauty and when I originally created this category I envisioned it being between Zach and Zhaire, one last one for Zach sounds about right.
Defender of the Game: Justin Gray was dialed in and that late block was just a thing of beauty. The ability of this team to switch and play the post was exhibited by each player, but Gray really had to pick up slack with Zach out in the second half. Part of the reason TCU out-rebounded Texas Tech was that Gray was playing the power forward.
Multi-Purpose Player of the Game: Jarrett Culver really didn’t get any shots, TCU was on him really tight through the game, but he made both of his three-point shots, led the team with 7 rebounds, had 2 assists, a steal, a block and 2 turnovers.
- This was a really annoying game, a the kind of game that bothers me because of the way that TCU just kept making shots and how Texas Tech just kept plugging away at the thign. TCU got hot early and Texas Tech couldn’t hit much of anything, but the team really just kept plugging away and eventually made it close by the time halftime rolled around and Texas Tech just kept fighting, but really, it came down to Texas Tech being much more consistent and better on offense.
- This was unprompted by Keenan and he wanted to end the press conference this way:
“I just want to say thank you to Coach Smith for bringing these guys and me to school, this great program. I want to thank Coach Beard and his staff for giving me the opportunity to stay. I also want to thank my family for supporting me through everything with Coach Smith leaving and Coach Beard coming in. Thanks to raider nation for being behind us no matter how bad the past seasons were and us losing four in a row. I just want to say thank you to everyone for giving us the opportunity and staying with us and supporting us.”
- In the post game presser, Beard said that Zach tweaked his ankle, didn’t have anything to do with his foot that was injured. He only played a few minutes in the second half and again, as mentioned above, the reason why Texas Tech was killed on the boards was the fact that TCU plays a pretty big lineup.
- So yeah, the issue of the offensive boards was why TCU stayed in the game. It was tough to watch Brodziansky get so many boards and I really felt that a lot of those boards were in the second half, when Zach went out. The problem was that a lot of those put-backs were Brodziansky trailing and in transition, so that’s more about putting a body on someone and that just didn’t happen.
- Just as an aside, watcing Alex Robinson dribble is unnerving because he seems like he’s about to lose the ball, but he never does.
- Niem Stevenson was pretty good today, still somewhat frustrating watching some of his turonvers where he’s trying to force the action, but that’s just who he is. He’s an important part of the offensive cog here and he had 11 points on 9 shots. He tries to get fouls, but the difference between he and Evans is that Evanscan score, take on contact and finish in one motion, while Stevenson really stops in the lane and lets the defense catch up where they can make a play.
- Zhaire is a joy to watch and I don’t know how long he’ll be in Lubbock, but enjoy every minute because this type of athlete is once in a decade. Zhaire finished with 15 points, on just 9 shots, grabbed 5 boards, 1 assist, 2 steals and just 1 turnover.
- Head coach Chris Beard after the game:
“It was a good game for us,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. “I wanted to get back on a winning streak before we head to Kansas City. Ultimately every season, I told the guys, we have four chances to win a championship. One is our MTE (multi-team effort), Connecticut and we got that done that early season championship. You always want to try and compete for your regular season conference championship. We were right there. Obviously, we had a little bit of adversity down the stretch, but we were part of the fight. I’m really proud of our guys. Finishing second in this league is nothing to hang your head down about. Now, we have a chance to try to win a championship in Kansas City, and we intend to be apart of the fight. Then ultimately, the national tournament, we’re going to try to be a factor. Pleased to get the win tonight, TCU is a really good team. There is a reason they won four straight. There was a reason they were picked way back before the season to be one of the better teams in our conference. Coach Dixon does a great job, and they have great players. Lastly, these five seniors are special guys to me. I respect them all as people. I really enjoyed coaching them, and I’m looking forward to keeping this ride as long as we possibly can. I want to coach these guys as long as I can. I’m proud of each of them and everything they’ve done to establish our program.”