Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game: Matt Mooney was absolutely terrific, scoring in a variety of ways, including hitting all 3 of his three-point shots and going 8 of 10 from the floor. 22 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 turnovers.
Defender of the Game: Well, 4 blocks will do that and Tariq Owens had the Longhorns thinking twice all game long. Owens is such a unique player in that he doesn’t have a true offensive game (he’s working on an outside game, but it’s not there yet) but he still scored 12 points because he can literally jump out of the gym. He’s also a very good free throw shooter, 76% for the year and 4-4 yesterday.
Multi-Purpose Player of the Game: Jarrett Culver was blanketed all game, but he still managed 14 points on 6 of 11 from the floor, including 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and 4 turnovers. Culver was absolutely fantastic at finding open players when he was double-teamed and that, in addition to his ability to just make plays is what makes Culver generational.
- These guys are different, different from when this thing started and different from last year. That flex from Matt Mooney when he hit the little shot to go up 46-41 (about 2:05 on the highlights below) and the flext from Davide Moretti with 7:14 remaining to go up 53-48 (about 2:25 on the highlights) were not something you saw from Morretti last year and not something you saw from the typically stoic Mooney. They were in it. All of it. It was pretty terrific to see that emotion from those two.
- That elbow jumper that Culver hit to go up 50-48 was the stuff of legends. I think that UT had just gone down and dunked and the crowd was all into it and then Culver quietly nails a dagger is what makes this team great.
- And whoever put together the highlight package absolutely nailed the big plays, especially the pass from Moretti to Norense Odiase for his only bucket, Moretti had been enough of an offensive threat that the freshman Jaxson Hayes just decided to leave Odiase, thinking that Moretti was without a doubt going to shoot, a jump stop, a pump fake and Odiase almost rips down the rim. Texas then has to call a timeout.
- The very next highlight is where there are three defenders around Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech is up 58-51, and Brandone Francis, who had missed all of his previous 7 shots, hits the dagger three-pointer from the corner to go up 61-52.
- Texas Tech was a bit rough in the first half, but by the time the second half rolled around, the offense was significantly better, a combination of running a bit and getting to the line more, but just hitting shots, 36% in the first half to 54% in the second, 6 free throw attempts in the first half to 11 in the second. Some of that was Texas trying to foul at the end of the game, but those count too and Texas Tech went 9 of 11 in the second half.
- It appeared that Deshawn Corprew went down with a calf strain, he had ice on his calf and I thought I saw something on Twitter about that’s what it maybe was. I have no idea what Beard does with the rotation, but it was already an 8-man rotation, it was pretty much 7 on Saturday.
- The LHN announcers were laughably biased and it was funny for me personally. From listening to them, the UT players were all future first round picks, 7-foot tall and bulletproof. It’s funny that ESPN really thought that there was a legitimate audience for completely biased announcers on a national level (local radio and television are a different deal and that’s standard for every team).
- Texas was the same team from the first half to the second half, shooting about 40% for each half, the biggest difference was that UT turned the ball over only 5 times in the first half and 9 times in the second. Compared to Texas Tech, they had 9 all game, 4 in the first half, and 5 in the second, 3 of those were from Culver.
- I thought the zone defense and switching things up a bit from man, to 3/4 court press to whatever Beard felt like doing and the team seamlessly managing that was really impressive and part of the reason why Texas Tech continued that defensive effort in the second half.
- You need to listen to the press conference embedded below. Beard is asked about winning the Big 12 title:
It’s so early. I’ve always said this, until you make the turn, until we’ve played about eight, nine or 10 games, nothing even really matters. Could we? Yes, we could be. The first part is kind of embracing that. It’s not arrogance. It’s just the truth. I mean, you’ve gotta believe. If I don’t believe, the players aren’t going to believe. Do I believe we could be one of the best teams in the Big 12? Yes.