Texas Tech 65, Little Rock 53
* 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.
- Wooo Hooo! What a game. The Red Raiders end up winning by double-digits on a team that was slightly better than Texas Tech and undefeated until yesterday afternoon. I really enjoyed seeing Texas Tech battle through some adversity, not that I enjoy seeing Texas Tech down at all, but having to fight a bit is really good for this team and it’s also really good to see this team not get flustered and continue to play hard. I don’t know if Texas Tech wins this game last year, but it is certain a lot closer.
- Oh my.
MY GOODNESS – @kingno_ with the steal, then @K3VANS12 to @SuperDuperZach ALLEY OOP! pic.twitter.com/ySYlir4LlV
— TexasTechHoopsFans (@TTUHoopsFans) December 22, 2015
- Zach Smith was the player of the game and if you have clicked play on the video above, you’ll see just how high he can jump. Just a beautify pass from Keenan Evans. Smith was truly impactful, both offensively and defensively. Smith registered a double-double, 12 points and 12 rebounds, his first double-double of his career and he was all over the place. He finished with 1 assist and turnover as well as 3 block and 2 steals on the day. Smith played 37 minutes yesterday (as did Toddrick Gotcher). Smith affected the game on the offensive end, hitting mid-range jump shots and dunks and even a hook shot as well as on the defensive end, affecting shots and blocking a few and obviously snatching up every rebound in sight. Smith is close to being a star.
- There were times late in the first half and in the second half where Texas Tech struggled with turnovers. In fact, Texas Tech had 16 turnovers, 10 of them in the second half. Not only that, but the refs got a lot more ticky-tack in terms of foul calls in the second half, although it probably felt like it was Texas Tech that was affected, and that certainly was true early in the second half, Little Rock had 16 fouls called on them in the second half to Texas Tech’s 11.
- Texas Tech was 19 of 30 from the free throw line, only good for 63% from the charity stripe. Not exactly what you want from the line. The players were gassed for a large part of the game, but that really shouldn’t be an excuse. That will come back to haunt Texas Tech.
- The biggest difference between this team and last year’s team is that Texas Tech finally has some shot-makers on the team and the team, as a whole, has figured out how to share the ball, find the open man and the player with the ball has figured out how to make some shots. Texas Tech players are driving and making pull up jumpers with a defender in their face. This team is just better at making shots and that was going to come with maturity with this team.
- Aside from Smith, Toddrick Gotcher also had 12 points, making 3 of 7 from the field, 5 of 6 from the free throw line, 4 rebounds, an assist and a turnover. Really though, this was a cumulative effort. Everyone contributed and other than Smith, there really wasn’t one star that shined. This was a team effort. Despite only playing 9 minutes, Norense Odiase had 6 points. Williams had 8, Evans had 9, Justin Gray had 8, and Aaron Ross had 5. A little bit here and a little bit there. I think this is the box score you’re likely to see in conference play and I’m good with that.
- Texas Tech completely dominated the boards. Before the game, Tubby Smith was concerned with the opponent’s offensive rebounding against Pine Bluff. Well, Texas Tech limited Little Rock to 3 offensive boards and had a 39 to 23 rebounding advantage on Little Rock, including 12 offensive rebounds for Texas Tech. That’s dominant.
- Temple continues to do some little things. Taking charges. Accepting the ball in the block, drawing a double-team and kicking it out to Devaugntah Williams for a three-pointer and he’ll body an offensive player, finds his man on the rebound and blocks out. These are generally things that won’t show up on the box score, but he’s affecting the game. Honestly though, everyone is somewhat doing these sorts of little things. I think I notice temple because I’m still figuring out his game.
- With Texas Tech up by 4, 50-46 with about 4 and a half minutes left in the game, Texas Tech pretty much took over the game. Texas Tech would end up scoring 15 points and Little Rock would only score 7. A Keenan Evans three-pointer with about 3:30 left in the game started the run, a pair of free throws and a pull-up jumper by Gotcher followed by a huge block by Smith and another jump shot by Ross ended up putting Texas Tech up by 10 with 1:30 left in the game. Texas Tech finished the game strong, they made their shots and put a previously undefeated Little Rock team away.