Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game: Going to be tough to not choose Jarrett Culver for most games and this is no exception. The other option would have been Mooney, but he had 4 turnovers. So, Culver it is . . . 13 points on 5 of 9, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 turnover.
Defender of the Game: Deshawn Corprew had some really nice perimeter defense and he’s going to be so important moving forward.
Multi-Purpose Player of the Game: I’ll go with Kyler Edwards, who had to take 11 shots, a team high, to get his 10 points (that’s not great), but also finished with 5 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, and just 1 turnover while leading the team with 27 minutes.
- A not so fun game, but here we are, disappointed in an 18 point win where the bench pretty much played for the last 6 or 7 minutes of the game, including walk-ons. And truthfully, UAPB only had one player that did much of anything, their main scorer Martaveous McKnight went off, scoring 27 and he was still playing at the end of the game as UAPB was trying to keep it close and come back. They were having none of this “play your bench” mess, they played their main guys pretty much to the end of the game, so if you add in that aspect to Texas Tech’s bench playing, then it looks like maybe an even more lopsided win.
- The problem is that the Red Raiders just couldn’t hit many shots, shooting 18% from the three-point line and there were some wide open shots that Mooney, Culver, Moretti and Francis just missed them. Francis was 0 for 6 for the game, he missed a couple of layups I think and when the shots aren’t falling, they’re not falling. And it wasn’t just the three-point shots, the team shot 10 of 20 from the free throw line. Culver was 3 for 6 and Ondingo missed both of his opportunities and Mballa missed his lone opportunity.
- UAPB did slow the game down, in fact, I think that when the bench went into the game, with about 6 or 7 minutes left, Texas Tech had not allowed the Golden Lions to score over 40 points, so the defense, other than stopping McKnight, was darn near stifling. That’s always one of those takeaways that you tend not to notice, but Texas Tech held UAPB to 33% from the field, and forced 20 turnovers. UAPB made things look closer than they probably were by making 78% of their free throw atempts.
- This is a minor criticism, but I’m throwing it out there. I thought Tariq Owens had the spectacular highlights from the game, the dunk off the inbounds from Mooney was special, but I think that sometimes Owens tries too hard to block shots, situationally, sometimes Owens gets caught in a situation where he’ll foul in an attempt to block a shot and I think that his presence alone will affect that. Maybe just a bit too aggressive because I think he’ll affect shots based on reputation alone.
- A really underrated aspect of Brandone Francis’ play is his ability to distribute the ball. Francis had 4 assists last night and he has 19 assists to just 5 turnovers on the year this year, which is pretty fantastic.
- I think the turnovers by Mooney and Moretti can sometimes drive Beard bananas, Mooney had 4 turnovers and this is somewhat becoming a problem. I don’t know if he’s still somewhat catching up to the speed of the game, but some just seem out of character based on how careful he plays. And Moretti had 2 turnovers on successive possessions, his only 2 for the night, and I think Beard called a timeout to address the issue. I probably harp on Moretti’s turnovers more than I should, he’s 2:1 assists to turnovers on the year (it’s actually 21:9), but Mooney is 32:21. Mooney is also a more productive player overall in comparison to Moretti (17 steals to 8, 33 rebounds to 15) so there’s some give and take there, a lot more good than bad for sure.
- Culver had a quiet game, and it was definitely more difficult for him to score on a zone defense when you’re not hitting outside shots, but he only took 9 shots, making 9. He missed both of this three-point attempts, but they were clean looks and he always contributes in other ways so I’m not worried about that at all, but I would like him to be more consistent at the free throw line.
- Head coach Chris Beard on playing UAPB:
“We played against zone for 40 minutes tonight. We got the ball in the middle some, we got to the free throw line many times. We just have to hit shots. On nights where you don’t hit shots you have to manufacture some offense out of offensive rebounds. I thought we could have done a lot better job on the glass, and you have to get to the free throw line so I give Pine Bluff a lot of credit. They slowed the game down with zone, we weren’t hitting shots, and then we really weren’t creating much offense with our defense. We let their best player get hot. At times in the second half when we started to separate a little bit, we started getting rebounds and running before they could set up their zone and we had some success there. It’s not just the players, I take responsibility for this too. The coaching staff has to figure this out, and we just have to play better”