As I was watching the game yesterday, in the first half I had a bad feeling about the product I was seeing out of the floor. Things were not flowing effortlessly and the team chemistry was not there. At times there were flashes of brilliance, yet I was hoping to see more energy from the players. The Red Raiders had 11 turnovers in the first half, and we allowed Incarnate Word to hit over 50% of their shots from the field. I wouldn’t call us sluggish, it was just a different feel then what we saw last season.
Chris Beard was asked about what was the difference from the 1st half to the 2nd half:
“First off, you have to have guys that want to be coached. We had some hard words to the guys at half time. We weren’t pleased. We made some adjustments, but you have to give the players credit. It starts with those four seniors. They knew what was coming. They knew we didn’t play our best the first half. You have to have guys that want to be coached, that’s the first thing. But then again, you have to give Incarnate Word credit, they spaced it out the first half. They shot a good percentage and they had a player get really hot. It isn’t always what you did bad, sometimes it is about understanding the opponents pretty good too.”
And, he we asked about limiting turnovers in the second half:
“The thing I was proudest of offensively was how we flipped the script there. We are a team that has to stay around single digit turnovers. We showed the guys that this weekend. You know when we beat Stephen F. Austin, Purdue, and Villanova those were all 10 turn overs or less games. We win three and we have a chance to win the last one. Turnovers aren’t always just bad passes. We had some illegal screens, an offensive rebound push off and a travel. We just need to clean it up. It isn’t a secret that we have to be a low turnover team to compete.”
I’m sure a few other choice words were used at halftime by Coach Beard and staff because the Tech team we watched play in the second half was polar opposite of the product we viewed on the court in the first half. The halftime speech got us motivated, and we came out to play the second half with the intensity and spark that we were accustomed to seeing last season.
In the second half we had 3 turnovers, and held Incarnate Word to 10% shooting from the field. We turned a 9 point lead at the half into a 50 point blowout victory. If you are just looking at the post-game stats and checking the overall box score, you would not realize that we did not have the luxury of coasting the entire game. We had to destroy them in the second half to get guys like Benson, Sorrells, and Hicks some playing time.
Let’s check out how the start of the game goes against Mississippi Valley State on Friday, but I am fairly certain Coach Beard and staff will remind the team how this one started out with Incarnate Word. The Red Raiders still have some time to shake off the rust before we run into more stiff competition, yet it would be amazing to see us play the way we did in the second half for an entire game. Wreck ’em Tech!!!