The Texas Tech Red Raiders fell to the Arizona Wildcats, 79-58. I honestly thought the game was relatively close for a good part of the first half, but Arizona seemed to go on a late run in the first half and a nice run in the first part of the second half to put the game away. I was surprised that Arizona never let their foot off the gas and they only played 7 players over 20 minutes last night and no other player for the Wildcats received double-digit minutes. Texas Tech played dangerously for the better part of the first half and they didn’t really back down, keeping the game relatively close.
I’m not taking any moral victory here, Arizona is clearly the better team, but I didn’t think the team just cratered like they did against Pittsburgh and I suppose that’s an improvement. They hung around and they hung around using a few bench players, which is either encouraging or discouraging, depending on your point of view.
Official Site: Box Score
Star of the Game | C Kader Tapsoba and F Aaron Ross: I don’t know if I’ll be able to give either one of these guys the star of the game in many opportunities, but Tapsoba and Ross were two of three players that scored in double-figures, scoring 11 and 10 points.
1. On the Boards: Arizona was just dominant on the boards, out-rebounding Texas Tech 43 to 23. To be out-rebounded by 20 is discouraging, but there are few teams that are as talented Arizona in the frontcourt and there are few teams that have as talented a frontcourt as Arizona. It’s why they are the #2 team in the nation. Even then, a rebounding margin of 20 is quite discouraging. No player had more than 3 rebounds for the entire game. The frontcourt is going to have to be better defensively and keep opponents off the boards. The easy out for situations like this is that rebounding is about effort, and that is partly true, but if an opposing team has better athletes jumping over you, there’s not a lot to do. I think that this partly happened here, but allowing 17 offensive boards by Arizona is just unacceptable. Per the LAJ, after the game, Crockett had this to say:
"We just weren’t aggressive," Crockett said. "We just weren’t crashing. They were going up aggressive. They had five bodies in there and we had one or two sometimes. Everybody has to crash from the point to the center."
Texas Tech will have to play a more talented frontcourt than Arizona, which is Kansas. They’re younger, but Wiggins and Embiid are awfully talented.
2. Slowing Turner and Hannahs: It seems as if Robert Turner has really slowed after a fast start. Turner jumped out and averaged double-figures for the first four games and recently, he’s struggled with his shot. Recently, Turner has gone 1-7, 0-8, 4-10, 1-5 and 2-10 in his last handful of games. Hannahs is 1-6, 1-4, 1-3, 2-8 and 1-2 in his last five games. If this is your starting backcourt, then these guys have to step up their play. They just haven’t hit their shots and in Hannahs’ case, he’s just not taking a lot of shots. I don’t think anyone is advocating that they just take any sort of shot, but they’re going to have to be better and the coaching staff maybe needs to figure out how to get these guys some better looks.
3. Like the Look of Onwuasor and Ross: It is somewhat interesting to see Randy Onwuasor continue to receive minutes and he’s looking really comfortable out there. I still think that Turner does a better job running the offense and Turner, I think, has a better outside shot, but Onwuasor is doing a really nice job for a true freshman. He’s not limited athletically, he’s just limited by what he’s able to do right now and he is improving. Onwuasor turned the ball over 3 times, but he also had 3 assists, to go with 7 points. I’ve already mentioned Ross, but I really liked his game last night too. He didn’t back down, and he got to the free throw line a few times and I thought he generally looked pretty comfortable. In the back of my head, I’ve been wondering how this team will look next year and I think these two guys are really going to continue to push for minutes and starting spots next year.
Charts: Thanks to the good folks at StatSheet.