Well, this was surprising. Completely surprising. Texas Tech played some of the best defense I've seen a while, as ISU only shot 35.3% from the floor, and Texas Tech was just efficient enough to outscore Iowa St. Not only that, but Texas Tech outrebounded Iowa St. by 9 boards and only allowed ISU to grab 3 offensive boards. Just think of all of those extra possessions that Texas Tech limited. These are the games that Texas Tech is going to play, with the thought that they can keep games close and that worked to perfection. Amazingly, Texas Tech has two conference wins and the Longhorns have none.
Here's head coach Chris Walker:
First of all what an awesome feeling for my guys, I'm very happy for the fellas, particularly the game coming off of Saturday, again this season may be filled with peaks and valleys because of our youth an inexperience but what I love about these guys is every single day they come out with a great attitude and when you have young, inexperienced team that's what you fight, you fight being down about losses and stuff and I tell them that's part of our journey there's no reason to be ashamed, I'm going through it with you, it's my first year and people may say a lot of things but the perception is we are a young team there's a lot we need to work on but reality is there is a lot we can control and the number one thing we can control is our attitude and that's what we did tonight.
BACKCOURT | Grade B
It was interesting listening to Matt Doherty talk about PG Josh Gray, who it seemed like he was being critical early in the game for driving too far into the lane without any options and turning the ball over or making ill-advised shots, but I thought that Doherty was accurate on those. It also seemed like he wanted Gray to do well on some level, and I think for the first time all season, Gray led the team in scoring with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 5 turnovers. Gray had 3 of those turnovers in the first half and 12 of those points in the second half. Obviously, he turned things around in the second half and he was incredibly clutch down the stretch helping put the game away. I can promise that if this team ever figures out how to get SG Dusty Hannahs open, then he'll make a ton of shots. Hannahs finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block. SG Jamal Williams, PG Daylen Robinson and SG Toddrick Gotcher didn't have huge nights, scoring somewhere between 4 and 2 points, but their play was important, especially on the defensive end.
FRONTCOURT | Grade B+
Good games from F Dejan Kravic and F Jordan Tolbert and they did all of the heavy lifting on the boards as they each had 8 boards. Kravic seemed to finally get the idea of putting a body on a defender. Kravic really got things going early and I think I'm fine with him taking shots around the rim, which is what Kravic does. I still think that Kravic decides his course of action and then does it regardless of any defense, but he is starting to figure it out offensively much better. Still, I'll take 8 points, 8 boards, 1 assist, and only 1 turnover. Surprisingly, Tolbert had 13 points on just 6 shots and made all 5 of his free throws and also had 8 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 turnovers. F Jaye Crockett had a relatively quiet night, but he didn't force the issue. But Crockett still contributed, with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal and 2 turnovers.
COACHING | Grade B+
The timeout early in the second half may have been the most important move of the game. Settle the team down and let them know that they just have to keep things close for 40 minutes and give themselves a chance. Psychologically, I think that was really importantant. Walker is really focusing on defense and he's being multiple in what he runs, sometimes it is a tight man-to-man, sometimes a zone, and sometimes it is a man-to-man that switches on the perimeter and that's what Texas Tech did for a good part of the game last night that seemingly caused problems for Iowa St. Offensively, I still would like to see more movement on the offensive end, even early in the shot-clock. It seems really stagnant for good stretches. Maybe that's intentional. A really good win for Walker, definitely the best win of his career.
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