Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game: Deshawn Corprew got his first start of the year and certainly made the most of it, recording a double-double, 13 points and 10 boards. Corprew went 6 of 8 from the floor, had an assist, 3 steals and 3 turnovers on the night.
Defender of the Game: We’ll go with Kyler Edwards, who had 3 steals on the night and tied the team-high along with Corprew.
Multi-Purpose Player of the Game: We’ll go with Matt Mooney, who had a quiet game offensively and had a couple of shots circle the rim, but didn’t go in, scoring 8 points, grabbing 4 boards with 6 assists and only 2 turnovers.
- Kind of a weird game in that UTRGV couldn’t miss in the first half, at least they matched Texas Tech shot-for-shot. They actually made 46% of their field goals including 3 of 9 from deep, while Texas Tech made 50% of their shits and went 4 for 9 from beyond the arc. The difference is that the Vaqueros regressed to who they were, which is not a good offensive team, making only 17% of their second half shots, 4 of 23, of which they went 2 for 7 from the three-point line. UTRGV also was supposed to be a team that got to the line and that didn’t happen really at all, only getting 14 free throw attempts all game long.
- I don’t think Texas Tech played poorly in the first half, just one of those quirky things where UTRGV couldn’t miss. I thought the defensive rotations all were good and I don’t think anything really changed form the first half to the second half.
- The big news was that Norense Odiase apparently has some pain in his hips and received an injection (that sounds painful) and Odiase and Beard apparently elected to give him the night off. I hope that Odiase is healthy and ready to go for conference play because the Red Raiders will certainly need his size moving forward.
- But that meant that one of my favorite players on this team, Deshawn Corprew, got the start and he did everything that he normally does, which is score, rebound, defend and generally play very good basketball, but with more minutes. I’ve sort of thought that Corprew should get the start anyway because I think that’s a better lineup for Texas Tech, starting Corprew at the power forward spot, with Odiase and Owens splitting time at the center position. I think it spreads things out for the two centers and opposing defenses can’t really cheat because Corprew can stretch a defense as well.
- I was hoping that this team would get the turnover bug out of their system, and they did to an extent. I don’t want to see the main ball-handlers turn the ball over and Mooney had 2, which is an improvement, Moretti didn’t have a turnover and neither did Culver. Brandone Francis led the way with 4 turnovers, I think just trying to do too much to get on track.
- I mentioned that UTRGV regressed to their normal offensive selves in the second half and I do want to note that the Vaqueros had 13 turnovers in the second half to just 3 assist and Texas Tech had 9 of their 11 steals in the second half. I think UTRGV got a bit more sloppy, but I also think that Texas Tech turned up the heat as well.
- How awesome is it when your best player scores the quietest 19 points that you can remember and is still clearly the best player on the team. Culver has improved his ability to make shots, it’s the biggest difference between last year and this year and it’s the Keenan Evans Effect, the ability to rise up and be better than the man in front of you. Culver can do that and it’s fun as heck to watch.
- Francis kinda got back on track a bit, I still think he’s maybe rattled to make much of anything from the outside, but he did make a few layups and finished a few fast breaks en route to 8 points on 4 of 6. I already mentioned the 4 turnovers, so he’s still not quite there, but it was good to get him on the scoring ledger.
- Kyler Edwards had a relatively quiet night, but he’s really improving his game, getting his points in the flow of the offense. I don’t know that Edwards will ever be a shooting guard like Culver or a point guard like Keenan. He’s a combo guard in that he’s probably neither, but that’s just fine. I don’t see him being a high assist guy, but maybe we just haven’t seen it yet and we will see it next year. I do like his shot and I like his confidence.
- I almost didn’t mention Tariq Owens, who had 10 points who benefited from some nice passes from Mooney and Culver. I’d like to see him hit the boards a bit more (only 3 rebounds for the game), but that’s a pretty minor complaint. I’m thinking that’s just not his game really.
- UTRGV scored 15 points in the second half.
- Head coach Chris Beard on preparing for West Virginia, which is January 2nd:
“This was a good game to prepare us for West Virginia. Mark Adams says he did it on purpose, but I am not sure if I’ll buy that. It did turn out to be good. It helped us work on fast breaks and press breakers. This transitions us into the West Virginia game. In our nonconference we try to play people that prepare us. When this game came up, we knew how big of an opportunity it would be for us. We always want to play against well coached teams because it exposes and tests you. This game was a good game for us and I was pleased to win.”