Basketball

Game Recap: Texas Tech 69, Florida 66

The Red Raiders advance.

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Game Recap

Player of the Game: Keenan Evans does it again: 22 points, 1 assist, 4 turnovers, 3 boards, + making plays that only a few in the country can make.

High Flyer of the Game: Zhaire, you’re incredible.

Defender of the Game: I don’t know that I’d pick just one guy defensively. Five guys had a block and 4 guys had a steal and the second half defense clamped down, Florida shot 47% from the floor and 36% from the three-point line in the first half and 33% from the floor and 18% from the three-point line. That’s just shutting down an opponent.

Multi-Purpose Player of the Game: Zhaire had 18 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 turnover and 1 steal. That’s darn near triple-double territory.

Game Notes:

  • Oh, boy, this is special. It’s difficult to put into words how special this run actually is and what this means. I can’t help but think about what this means for the program moving forward and what it means, more importantly, for the program right now (Yes, I’m already thinking about the fact that Texas Tech still has two scholarship spots to fill and you’d think that a Sweet Sixteen run helps that). I wrote earlier this year, that Texas Tech might just be that damn team, and what that means is that there’s always one team that you don’t expect to do it does “it”. Why not Texas Tech? I don’t have an answer for you, I just know that it’s happening right before your eyes.
  • Of course Chris Beard thinks that Texas Tech is that damn team:

    Q. How does this — is this a program-altering win and what you’re doing at Tech in your second year?
    CHRIS BEARD: I don’t think so. I understand, I respect the question, but we’ve got a great University. And we’ve got big-time facilities. And we’ve got the best fans in college basketball in my opinion.We’re playing in one of the best conferences. This is what we should be doing. A good season should be a good seed and making a run. Every year should be NCAA Tournament.A lot of work went into this, but we’re just getting started. I told the guys before this ever started last Sunday, I guess it was, after the selection show, I was like, look, there’s 68 teams in the tournament. A lot of the teams will just show up to be a part of it, and it’ll overwhelm them. A select few, the Kansases, the Michigan States, the Dukes, the Carolinas, these type people will go to win the tournament.I was like, let’s be one of those. Whether we’re going to win it or not, a lot of things have to happen, but let’s be a team that embraces trying to win it. We’re not here just to have a good time. We’re here to advance. So this was a four-team tournament for us, two games, played against two really good teams, so now we’ve got to get better and try to do the same thing next weekend.

  • I thought when Jarrett Culver hit the three-point shot in the first half to take a 27-26 lead, the crowd realized what they had in front of them and what they were in store from from a fight. The crowd was fantastic the entire weekend and Beard talked about how he felt it was his obligation to get the crowd into the game:

    Yeah, I mean, way out of my comfort zone, really I’d much prefer to sit there like a Coach Self or Coach Smith or Coach K, but ultimately I think the job of any coach, if it was just a one-sentence answer in the dictionary, you do everything you can to help your players win, win in life, win on the court and off.

    So tonight I felt like we worked so hard to get this seed and play in Dallas, so I got a little out of my comfort zone and kind of turned cheerleader a little bit. But I want to thank everybody for responding. I know I must have looked like an idiot a lot doing that, but anything to help our guys. I would do anything to help our team, so maybe tonight in some small way, I helped get the crowd going. I’ll take it.

  • LOL, Texas Tech made 7 of 14 free throws. We’d all be talking about this if Florida nailed one of those last second shots.
  • The 4th foul on Chiozza was a big deal and he only played 27 minutes all game long, partly because he got his second foul in the first half too. that second foul may have been more important in the grand scheme of things. And how ironic is it that Brandone Francis, the former Gator, going for that long rebound that got that 4th foul on Chiozza.
  • Against SFA, Jarrett Culver was terrible and couldn’t even complete a pass at times. Culver showed up big-time, not necessarily shooting all that great, only 5 of 13, but he didn’t shrink after the SFA game, scoring 11 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, dishing out 4 assists, blocking 1 shot and ZERO turnovers. Chris Beard believes in you more than you believe in you.
  • When Zhaire tied the game at 48 with a circus fake and scoop shot underneath the basket, the crowd started to sense what was happening.
  • The Zhaire steal with the pass to Evans who split the defense on a fast break to score, the Zhaire follow slam followed by the whirling dervish layup by Evans was as huge a run as we’ve ever seen by this team. Ever.
  • When Evans lost the ball and Niem Stevenson ran back to get the steal really epitomizes what Stevenson is about.
  • Score is tied at 64 with 2:50 left in the game. Keenan Evans drains a three from the right side to put Texas Tech up by 3. Zach Smith blocks Hudson’s shot at the rim. 1:54 remaining. Evans misses a mid-range jump shot and Zach grabs the board. Jarrett Culver strips Stone at the rim and Koulechov misses a three. 49.4 remaining. Zach Smith with the high post screen and Evans splits two defenders, Zhaire points to the rim (Niem is wide open for a three if Evans wants it) and Zhaire’s alley-oop would be the last points that this team scores with 29.4 seconds left. That was Evans’ one assist for the entire game. Florida mugs Evans on the inbound and gets the ball back. They have one timeout remaining and they don’t call it. The Gators hoist multiple shots at the rim, but they don’t fall. It’s done Texas Tech advances to the Sweet Sixteen.
  • Chris Beard:

    I just want to coach these guys another day. That’s the bottom line, just having so much fun with this group. Just want to have one more practice and one more film session and one more travel, and then I’m sure when we get to the next destination, we’ll get greedy and want to do it again. But this is all about just surviving and advance. It really is. And I’m proud to be these guys’ coach. I’m just glad we get to live another day.

Highlights

The alley-oop.

The Matador song.

The celebration.

The sticker.

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