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Kansas 64, Texas Tech 69 - Game Review

The Texas Tech Red Raiders defeated the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks, 69-64. DMN's Tim MacMahon has his game story here. I was on an incredible high after that game as I had hinted earlier in the week that Kansas might be due for a loss, but I would have been at a loss to try and explain how KU was going to lose to the Red Raiders. Thankfully, the game speaks for itself here. It was a really great effort by everyone involved.

An interesting side note, Tech was supposed to have a number of recruits visit this weekend and I think that we were all a little depressed because of the weather in Lubbock, that Tech wouldn't really be able to showcase what it has to offer. Well, I'd bet some decent money that most of those recruits went to that game and so I ask, is it possible that a game like that could turn the tide with some impressionable 18 year old kids? I'd bed that it does.

Here are the stats:

Player Min. Ast. Reb. Pts. Comment
J. Jackson, 39 0 0 15 Started slow, didn't force shots, played a huge role down the stretch.
M. Zeno, 39 2 5 14 Another well-rounded game, still does an excellent job of creating his own shot.
C. Burgess, 35 0 5 8 Solid, if given the opportunity can take anyone off the dribble.
M. Prince, 22 2 3 6 Played excellent defense, hustled for every ball, an excellent game.
D. Suljagic, 13 0 1 0 Good to decent defense, he didn't make any mistakes, and that's key.
D. Dora, 26 1 6 19 Came up huge in both the 1st half, forced KU to cover every player, blocked 2 shots.
J. Plefka, 21 1 2 2 Solid work, can make mental mistakes which limits his minutes for Coach Knight.
A. Voskuil, 13 2 5 5 Understated and well played game, needs to work on his ball-handling, made key bucket.

What Tech Did Right:

  • Tech played well enough to beat the No. 5 team in the nation. That's quite an accomplishment for a team that lost to Baylor last weekend, it says something about these kids. They will play hard and they will compete and they're not afraid of anyone. On almost any given day, Kansas has far superior athletes, and superior basketball players, but that didn't keep Tech from competing and winning in this game.
  • Jay Jackson didn't force shots. It is incredibly rare to find this trait in a player today. Most college kids wouldn't let the game come to them, but Jackson waited. Jackson was patient. If Jackson were a selfish player, he could have shot Tech right out of this game. Chalmers and Robinson stuck to Jackson like glue the entire first half and it would have been foolish for Jackson to force shots when they weren't there. Some might say that great players create opportunities, but in this case Jackson did the right thing. He waited and he was instrumental in holding off Kansas in the 2nd half.
  • The bench was spectacular. Tech's bench outscored the Jayhawk's bench 30-22 and here are the reasons why:
    1. Dora could not have played any bigger than he did today (well, unless you count two years ago). When Dora is confident about what he does then he can be good. It's the mental errors that tend to limit him and today, despite 5 turnovers, he kept in this game in the 1st half with 10 of Tech's 31 points. Defensively Dora came up with 2 first half blocks that really seemed to energize this team to climb out of the first half deficit of 8 points.
    2. Michael Prince played the type of game that I'm accustomed. He scrapped and hustled his way to be productive. He did not give up on plays and in fact finshed with 6 points 3 boards and 4 assists.
    3. Alan Voskuil scored one bucket, one incredibly important bucket and he had 3 assists, but he had one incredibly important assist which led to a Jackson 3 point play. Voskuil has got to do a better job of handling the ball, being more confident with ball, but he played a vital role in today's victory.
  • Zeno was, Zeno. Zeno was quiet today, but still very effective. Anytime a player can have 14 points, 5 boards, 2 assists and limit Brandon Rush, an incredibly talented player in his own right, to 4-14 from the floor then he's done his job.
  • The defense was better than average. Statistically speaking, Tech held off Kansas, limiting the Jayhawks to 43.8% from the field, but more importantly, limited the effectiveness of Arthur, Wright (who only got 17 minutes) and Kaun.

What Tech Did Wrong:

  • Kansas dominated inside, gathering 36 points in the paint. Quite frankly I was a little shocked to see the Jayhawks get away from Kaun and Arthur as the game progressed. Tech had little answer for either of those players. The Red Raiders have got to toughen up inside, as A&M will pose and equally tough challenge. Tech was able to stay even on the boards, which is an improvement, especially considering how talented Kansas is.
  • Too many turnovers. 16 turnovers is too many for a this Tech team. This team relies on being efficient offensively and too many turnovers will mean big trouble if this problem isn't fixed.
  • Free throws. It's not that Tech didn't make a decent percentage of free throws, but rather they missed some really big ones. That's concentration. Late in the game the guys who have the ball have got to be stronger and make their free throws.
  • Don't let Dora fall in love with the 3-pointer. I admit that Dora was incredibly important today. His outside shooting was tremendous, but Tech cannot allow a 6-9 forward fall too much in love with the 3-point shot. He's got to be continually reminded that he's still got to be an inside player
  • Continue to work the offense. The offense became very stagnant in the 2nd half and I'd rather see Tech continue to work the ball and play their game. The key to Tech's 1st half and early 2nd half offensive success was forcing Kansas to guard each player on the court, with inside buckets coupled with clean looks from the outside.
  • Close out on the perimeter. Kansas, though gifted offensively, was able to get too many good looks late in the 2nd half to tie them with the Red Raiders. The perimeter players have got to close out defensively, including Voskuil, Jackson, Burgess and Zeno. Tech really could have separated itself from Kansas had they just done a better job with those players on the perimeter.

This was an incredible win, a win that I couldn't be happier for these kids to get. The problem of course is that Tech faces A&M on Wednesday night. Once again, I think that the Aggies are poised to lose. They ran over a tough OSU team at home on Saturday but they too have had some close games. It will be interesting nonetheless.