The Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-1, 0-0) lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide (1-1, 0-0), 76-64. At one point, I was sure the game was going to get out of hand, but Texas Tech just kept fighting back and I think it could have been a complete loss had some shots not started falling in the second half. Also, I absolutely love those red jerseys.
Star of the Game | Jordan Tolbert: Tolbert was excellent last night, scoring 7 of 9 from the floor and grabbing 7 rebounds, with 3 blocks and 1 steal for the game. Tolbert and Crockett were the only players that shot above .500 for the night in an otherwise rough shooting night for the team.
- Rough Stretch | There was a really rough stretch in the first half, late in the half, that was really tough to watch. The offense stagnated quite a bit and the pressing Alabama defense caused some significant problems for this team. I think teams now have blueprint as to how to play Texas Tech, because after Robert Turner, there’s just not a competent point guard that can play at the level that Texas Tech needs. Luke Adams is limited athletically, while Randy Onwuasor seems like he’s still a bit too green to fully play the point. I think that HC Tubby Smith is going to have to choose a guy and I think it needs to be Onwuasor because he can do more defensively, although Adams probably runs the team a better. In addition to having Turner handle the ball, it was still tough to watch parts of the offense try to get going. Alabama was playing terrific defense and Texas Tech had numerous shot-clock violations. I think there’s a fine line between passing the ball and involving everyone and taking too much of the shot clock forced some really tough possessions.
- Shots Not Falling | At some point the three-point shots just didn’t fall and that was maybe the biggest difference in the game. Alabama made 6 of 14, which speaks to the Texas Tech defense, but Texas Tech was just 4 of 20 from the floor and Texas Tech couldn’t buy a shot from beyond the arc in the first half, making only 1 of 9 three-point shots. I do think that if those shots were falling, this game is even closer than what it was and this was the difference between this game and Northern Arizona (aside from the respective talent). The shots for Texas Tech were really falling against NAU and that was the reason Texas Tech won by 20. But against Alabama without having really any outside shot, this team really struggled. One other point, which is that Texas Tech only shot 8 free throws for the entire game and only made 4 of them. If the shots aren’t falling, the team has to maybe draw some fouls and get some easy buckets.
- No Bench | I really thought that the bench was going to be a big factor in favor for Texas Tech, but the Texas Tech bench only scored 11 points. I thought that these guys would be better than that, but Onwuasor struggled, as did Adams and Toddrick Gotcher didn’t get much time until the second half to do much of anything. I do think that the five best players are the starters, but the bench is going to have to be more competent, to carry the offense and the defense during those stretches the starters need a break.