Basketball

Post-Game Thoughts: Texas Tech 79, Texas 77

That’s 3 straight in Austin.

Game Links:

Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game: Mac McClung. No question. If anyone ever doubted his toughness or desire to win a game, this was Exhibit “1”. So clutch and fearless. He wanted that shot at the end of the game. No question.

The Motion:

  • That was a helluva win. I thought that Texas played their absolute best half of basketball in the first half and if Texas Tech could just weather the storm, who knows what could happen? Texas did play out of their brains, making half of their field goals, but on top of that, making 8 of 14 three-point field goals, while Texas Tech made only 37% of their field goals and 25% of three-point shots. Surely the Longhorns couldn’t keep it up, right?
  • And that’s exactly what happened. Texas Tech continued to fight, coming out strong in the second half with a handful of easy buckets and the Longhorns looked like they were on skates almost immediately. And Texas Tech shot much better too, making 45% of their shots, both 2-point and 3-point, and the Longhorns shot themselves out of the game a bit, making only 33% of their second half shots. And maybe the hottest player for UT, Andrew Jones, had 1 shot in the second half. That’s the definition of insanity, not getting the ball to your best player as much as possible. Coleman and Ramey were a combined 3 of 16 in the second half. That’s shooting yourself out of a game right there.
  • There probably aren’t many teams that can come back the way that Texas Tech did because most teams simply cannot make every possession count. Texas Tech had just 7 turnovers on the night, while it wasn’t as if Texas had a ton, they had 15 of them. And Texas Tech converted those turnovers into 19 points, while Texas had 0 points off of turnovers.
  • Texas has the deeper team. That’s not a question, but Texas Tech got 18 points from their bench and UT’s bench was basically non-existent with just 4. The biggest difference is that Beard trusted his bench a bit more (it helps to have Terrence Shannon come off the bench), while Smart left it to his starting 5 for the most part. That’s not a knock, Beard tends to do the same thing, but having that bench certainly came in handy last night.
  • The biggest difference between last year’s team and this year’s team is that this year’s team has guys that can create their own shots with Mac McClung being the main guy that can do so much. McClung was so clutch, obviously with him making the final shot, but he scored 22 points on 6 of 14, made 8 of 10 from the line, had 5 boards, 2 assists, a steal and just 1 turnover in 36 minutes. He also passed the ball to himself to avoid a turnover.
  • I sort of always remember this when Bob Knight was the coach, which was that he didn’t like calling timeouts in close games. it bit Texas Tech in the rear in one game earlier this year, but Beard was determined to let his guys rectify that. If you call a timeout, you allow the opponent to set up, make sure they have the right guys guarding opponents, while just letting things go, it’s more chaotic and most teams aren’t used to that. I know in the last game, Beard wanted McClung to take the last shot and it didn’t happen. It did last night.
  • Kevin McCullar was special last night, scoring 16 points on 6 of 7 from the floor with 8 boards and some terrific defense. His ability to do so much and how he’s expanded his offensive game is special. He also made both of his three-point shots.
  • Kyler Edwards was pretty terrible in the first half. I don’t have the splits to where I know what he did in the first vs. second half, but I’m almost all but positive that Edwards scored all 7 of his points in the second half, which included both of his three-point buckets. Add in 6 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and a turnover and that’s a pretty solid night. And that steal at Texas Tech’s basket with a quick pass to Shannon was huge.
  • Despite being out-sized (both of UT’s post players are around 6’10”) Marcus Santos-Silva was highly effective, despite being in foul trouble a good chunk of the night and eventually fouling out. MSS made 4 of 5 from the field and the line and finished with 12 points, 4 boards, 2 blocks, and led the team with 2 turnovers.
  • Another big issue for the Longhorns was their inability to make free throws, especially down the stretch. UT made just 58%, 18 of 31, while Texas Tech was superb, 79%, 22 of 28.
  • Terrence Shannon didn’t have his best night offensively, making only 4 of 13 and 1 of 8 from the three-point line. I think he settled for some of those shots and that’s not where Shannon excels. He did score 14 points and led the team with 7 rebounds.
  • After allowing 48 first-half points, Texas Tech wound up giving up just 29 in the second half.
  • I’ve embedded the fireside chat after the game and in the plane and that’s definitely a heck of a watch. Please enjoy that. There was no other post-game video or post-game press conference for me to embed, so you’re stuck with watching these highlights on a loop and dreaming about late night Waffle House.
  • Head coach Chris Beard:

    “I’ve got a lot of confidence in Mac. He has the courage to take those shots.”

  • Up next? Baylor heads to Lubbock on Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. tip-off. The game is set to be broadcast on ESPN.

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