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Texas 76, Texas Tech 64

What are you supposed to do? The Texas Tech Red Raiders lose to the Texas Longhorns, 76-64, as Kevin Durant scores 572 points and grabs 451 rebounds (actually it was only 37 points and 23 rebounds). Durant is an amazing talent and is almost impossible to guard, at least with the current version of the Red Raiders. That was a tough loss, and when I wrote this I thought that Tech needed to win 3 of 5 games. Now, it's come down to the OU game and I can't stress how important that game is after this loss. Let's get to the numbers:

Player Min. Rbs. Ast. Pts. Comment
J. Jackson, G 36 3 2 27 Hopefully back on track, shot too many threes in 2nd half.
M. Zeno, G 36 10 4 13 Not effective offensively with Durant guarding him, but still competed.
J. Plefka, F 29 5 1 14 Early scoring helped, was unable to get back on track.
M. Prince, F 18 6 0 0 Starting to rebound more, defended Durant the best in the 1st half.
C. Burgess, G 34 5 2 8 Played well coming off ankle injury, could never create in the lane.
D. Dora, F 17 1 1 0 Seemed invisible when he played, failed to make an impact.
A. Voskuil, G 8 0 0 0 Slowly seeing his minutes decrease, doesn't seem comfortable taking shots.
D. Suljagic, F 4 1 0 2 Decent defense against Texas bigs.

What Tech Did Right:

  • Tech Rebounded: Tech doesn't have Kevin Durant, but they really rebounded the ball well tonight. They didn't win the rebounding battle, but their effort was so much better than in previous games (especially Missouri). Zeno's 11 boards and Burgess's 5 boards were both big, but I'd still like to see this type of production from the bigs. Beggars can't be choosers.
  • Jackson Is Back On Track: Conference play has been tough on Jackson, but against Texas Jackson stepped up his play. He took a ton of shots, but he connected on half of them, it just would have been nice if he had hit a few more threes. Making sure that Jackson is back on track is vital for continued success in the Big 12 and you can bet that OU will be focusing their efforts on Jackson.
  • Zeno Still Showed Up: Despite shooting a dismal 4-17, Zeno still came to play. He couldn't his the broad side of a barn, but he hustled and he rebounded. I know that type of attitude is merely a concilatory attitude, but Zeno did play hard despite his shooting woes. I never worry about Zeno because he always seems able to score without needing the outside shot to fall.
  • Plefka is an Offensive Option: Slowly but surely, Tech may have found its 3rd or 4th scoring option. He's consistently been hitting most of his shots and despite the fact he doesn't rebound like I'd like, he's making an effort and that's more than we're accustomed.
  • We Don't Have to Listen to Bardo: The game is over and we don't have to listen to Stephen Bardo any longer. Thank you.

What Tech Did Wrong:

  • Live By The Three: and die by the three. The ability of Tech, especially Jackson, to hit threes in the 1st half was integral to keeping Tech with the lead, but when the shots stopped falling, Tech seemed unable to even run their motion offense without looking for a three point shot. I think lots of credit goes to Barnes here as he allowed Tech to continue to shoot threes in the second half and the offense then struggled.
  • Tech Didn't Take Care of the Rest: One of my keys to the game was to contain players not named Durant, unfortunately the remainder of the team shot 50% and it seemed like UT was able to get lots of easy looks and dunks.
  • Did Not Control the Lane: Augustin had a field day driving and dishing in the lane as he was able to find a number of open players and did a great job of controlling the game.
  • Couldn't Control the Perimeter: Something can be said that Tech couldn't control Durant in the post and I think that I was willing to concede those buckets, but the perimeter scoring was unacceptable. Texas seemed to have too many clean looks.

As I said above, the OU game becomes more critical now more than ever and now OU is playing better than when Tech won the first matchup. I'd like to see Tech take these next two games (Nebraska being the other game) before the Oklahoma State game.

As an aside, it was a nice touch by Coach Knight to thank Barnes for his continued support. There's obviously a mutual respect here, but I didn't know it was to this extent.