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Player of the Game | After not scoring a point and being in foul trouble in the first half Jarrett Culver put the team on his back and scored 18 much needed points in the second half to secure the victory. We all knew that Culver was the best player on the court today, but got worried when he went scoreless in the first half and picked up his third foul. With the offense struggling Culver took the ball to the bucket and played the second half in foul trouble to get his scores. Finishing the night shooting 6-8 from the floor and made all 6 of his free throws to get 18 total points. He added 6 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. The Red Raiders need a clutch performance in the closing minutes from the star and he delivered.
Stat of the Game | 50 total fouls in the contest, if you watched the game it was excruciating to see the Big 12 call so many cheap fouls on two teams that were playing tough basketball. Once the game started and the refs started blowing the whistle on every swipe and body contact, they backed themselves into a corner. Coach Beard and Huggins were on their ass to call it fair both ways, and expected them to give each team the ticky tack calls on each end of the court. Owens, Culver and Odiase played most of the game in foul trouble. Owens fouled out with more than 11 minutes remaining, Odiase fouled out with over 2 minutes remaining, Edwards fouled out, and Culver miraculously finished on the court without being disqualified.
How the Game was Won | Of course it was the defense on both sides that kept the game close. West Virginia threw full court press on Tech, and switched to zone D in the second half that really made it difficult for the Red Raiders to score. The Red Raiders had a poor shooting first half missing some easy wide open shots, but with the help of Culver and Mooney had a much better second half getting buckets. Moro also contributed with a couple crucial three pointers.
With so many fouls, I’d have to say that we won from the charity stripe making over 70% on 17-24 and made the free throws at the end of the game. West Virginia only made 18-32 form the line, and that was ultimately the deciding factor in the game that led us to having the advantage over them.
Turning Point | This game had a lot of lead changes, but the last minute of the contest was really the point that you have to give Texas Tech credit to turning the game around in our favor. Culver gave us a 3 point lead with 40 seconds left on hitting his shot. From that time forward we played the defense to stay ahead and made our free throws to get the victory. West Virginia had a desperation half court buzzer shot that luckly had a very low probability of being made.
Team Observations | With Owens and Odiase in foul trouble, along with having to rest Culver with his fouls there was a lot of small ball played by Tech. I was very impressed with how wonderfully our guards played against WVU when having to carry the load and slow down the Mountaineers from letting things get won under the basket. Something that I observed was Coach Beard did not put in Ondigo when Odiase and Owens sat on the bench. For a lot of the duration of the match Francis was our biggest guy on the court. And we still won the game. Credit that stifling defense and the coaching staff teaching our roster to play any position on the court when backed into that type of situation. This squad is special. Our first men’s hoops win in Morgantown was ugly, but we did not back down from the challenge.
Sometimes you gotta win ugly. #4To1
— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) January 3, 2019