This seemed like the first big win that I can recall where the defense seemed to be the key for Texas Tech's win. Just a fantastic defensive effort and I just loved how this team weathered the storm of a huge run by Oklahoma to hang onto a 68-60 win against the Oklahoma Sooners. The way that this team is able to switch between multiple defenses is one of the big differences.
Texas Tech held Oklahoma to just 42% from the field and 22% from the three-point line and that first half for OU was just abysmal, where they shot 27% from the floor and couldn’t buy a bucket. By the time the Sooners made their second half run, which was terrific, the team just didn’t have enough.
And you already know this, but Tubby Smith is a basketball genius. That takes away credit from the players and there was no doubt which team wanted it more in the first half, Texas Tech, and I thought both teams played pretty even in the second half. He know that this team wanted it more as well:
"I thought the kids earned this one tonight. They really played extremely hard. I was impressed with Oklahoma because they didn’t fold. Lon Kruger’s teams always go to battle. Even though they were struggling in the first half and not making shots, they started making them in the second half and we knew that was coming. Forcing the turnovers they had in the second half put them back in the game but I have to compliment our guys for not losing their composure and staying focused and staying strong. They got a hard-fought and well-deserved road win for us because they’ve been far and few between here at Texas Tech. So we’re excited to get this one."
Texas Tech has five conference wins right now and I’m sure that this team didn’t have five conference wins the past two years. Couldn’t be happier and more proud of where this team is headed.
Official Site: Box Score | Quotes
Media: LAJ | DT
Star of the Game | G Robert Turner: Turner was just fantastic running the point for Texas Tech and he was incredibly efficient offensively, where he was 6 of 11 from the floor, scoring 16 points, 5 assists, 3 turnovers and 2 steals. Just a beautiful game for Turner from an offensive flow standpoint, where he does just a fantastic job of directing the offense, driving when needed, finding open teammates and making shots.
1. Holding Steady: The Sooners' second half rally was really terrific and I think we were all nervous that the Sooners would complete the comeback, especially after Texas Tech had problems with holding onto wins up until the this current three game winning streak. But Texas Tech held up and they didn't back down and it's all part of the winning process. I don't think that many of us were all that disappointed with how Texas Tech wasn't able to get a win in close games earlier in the season, but are sure darned proud about how this team is starting to play. There was no doubt that the general consensus was that after the win against Oklahoma St., this team was due for a let-down and in looking at the schedule, it's really scary, but this team isn't going to back down.
2. Defensive Focus: In Texas Tech's other two big wins, against Baylor (who was ranked at the time) and Oklahoma St. (also ranked at the time) I thought the offense is what carried the team in both circumstances, but this is the first big win for Smith where I thought the defense was just fantastic. I've already mentioned the shooting statistics in the intro paragraph, but Texas Tech has to credit how they swept up on the boards, out-rebounding Oklahoma 36 to 29. Oklahoma had 10 offensive rebounds, which I something that needed to be cleaned up, but considering that Oklahoma had 56 shots, Texas Tech had 27 defensive rebounds and limited the Sooners as much as possible.
3. Free Throws: When a team plays fantastic defense, you're not giving the opponent an opportunity to cash in at the free throw line and Texas Tech did that against Oklahoma. Believe it or not, Oklahoma shot 14 three-point shots in the first half and 13 three-point shots in the second half and I think that in furious comeback, getting to the line is something that can stop the clock, but the Sooners didn't get to the line, only shooting 8 free throws in the first half and 4 in the second half. They just never pushed the envelope and kept relying on those three-point shots. Meanwhile, Texas Tech did get to the free throw line 15 times in the first half, making 12, and 12 times in the second half, making 8. Sure, part of that was Oklahoma fouling at the end, but that first half effort in getting to the line was a big part of Texas Tech getting out to a big lead as the Red Raiders only shot 43% from the floor.
Charts: Thanks to the good folks at StatSheet.