Texas Tech 68, Tennessee Martin 49
* The Flex is a shout-out to Tubby Smith’s flex offense and a place for us to set some screens, make some cuts and discuss the game.
- That three-point shooting from Toddrick Gotcher was absolutely huge. The difference in pulling away from the game and things staying somewhat close. Aside from the many, many buckets, yesterday was a big day for Gotcher as he graduated on Wednesday (or took his last exam) WITH HIS MASTERS DEGREE. That’s right, his masters degree. You all are witnessing one of the best students of the many student-athletes that have come through Texas Tech. He’s a great person from what I can tell. Gotcher was the shooting star of the game, including 7 of 10 from the field, including 6 of 8 from the three-point line, scoring 20 points, to go along with 6 rebounds, an assist, a turnover and 2 steals. During those offensive lulls during this game, Gotcher kept the foot on the pedal.
- Justin Gray looked really smooth and I really do think that Texas Tech needs to have a better handle on how to take advantage of his offensive game. He’s too skilled to just be a guy and I think Tubby Smith would be smart to get Gray involved in the offense more than just the standard set. It’s time to take advantage of what he can do offensively. He had a few jump shots and more of his mid-range game that led to a really nice first half. Not only that, but Gray is taking the ball to the bucket and finishing and that’s huge. He looks more comfortable handling the ball. Gray was 5 of 7 from the floor and made all 5 of his free throws, and scored 15 points to go along with 3 rebounds, an assist and 2 turnovers on the day. The offense is just better with Gray on the floor.
- The zone defense stymies Texas Tech again, to the point that there was a pretty good lull in the first half and the second half offense wasn’t as consistent that I’d like. Lots of runs in this game, but I felt like the team lacked a sustained offense. One that’s consistently putting pressure on the opposing defense. I thought that the offense struggled too much in the second half as well, shooting only 36% in the second half, opposed to 46% in the first half. The main culprit was the three-point shooting, sans the efforts of Gotcher. If you take out Gotcher’s 6 of 8, Texas Tech was 1 of 19 from the floor for the game. Devaugntah Williams seemed like he couldn’t get a clean shot for the first half and he ended up completely disappearing from the game for the most part, making only 2 of 7 and was 0 for 4 from the three-point line.
- Keenan Evans had another nice game, making 4 of 9 from the floor to score 8 points, to go along with 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover and 1 steal. Three of Evan’s 9 shots where around the basket, up-and-unders and that’s where Evans will probably excel moving forward. I think Evans does look more in control and the 6 assists with just 1 turnover is terrific. I’ve noticed this in Evans’ shot, which is that he’s got this loop or a hitch in his shot that seems unnecessary. It’s noticeable to me on his three-point shots, almost like he’s pulling the ball back a bit. Evans was 0 for 3 from beyond the arc.
- Norense Odiase got into a tussle again. I can’t exactly remember the sequence, but there was a play where the ball bobbled around while Texas Tech was on offense and found Gotcher who ended up making a three-point shot. In that exchange, Odiase got tangled up with a UT-Martin player. Odiase played only 8 minutes in the first half and 10 minutes in the second half. This is the second game in a row where Odiase has unnecessarily gotten into scraps with opposing players, the last game Odiase kicked a player and this was a push that was right out of the camera angle. Odiase has to figure out his temper because there just are not a lot of options behind him and the frontcourt isn’t deep enough without him.
- Odiase had an okay stat line, going 3 of 8 from the field, scoring 7 points and grabbing 5 rebounds, while Zach Smith was also 3 of 8 with 5 rebounds. Pretty quiet games from those two overall. Smith doesn’t even have Odiase’s temper issues and he almost alwasy plays the most minutes, which he did again last night, playing 31 minutes.
- I love the energy that C.J. Williamson and Jordan jackson bring to the floor. They are aggressive offensively, constantly driving, but they tend to take some quick and/or poor shots. They’re true freshmen, so I understand that, but I think they would earn more minutes if they would take some deep breaths and let the game come to them.
- Neither team was really taking the ball to teh basket and were settling for lots of jumpshots, as both teams combined for 25 free throws, only 12 for Texas Tech and 13 for UT Martin.
- Texas Tech out-rebounded UT Martin, who is a really small team, 43-36, which is fine, but that is somewhat expected. Texas Tech very much took advantage of the 17 turnovers and scored 18 ponits off of those turnovers and the Red Raiders ended up with 8 points on the fast break.
- Aaron Ross fell in love with the three-point shot a bit this game, shooting 4 of his 7 shots beyond the arc, missing all of them from the three-point line, but he did score 4 points and grabbed 7 boards. Ross played more than Odiase and if Odiase doesn’t keep that temper in check, Ross could very much benefit.
- Texas Tech will play South Dakota State next Wednesday, tip time is at 7:00 pm.