The Texas Tech Red Raiders (20-11, 9-7) finished the regular season with a victory, beating the Iowa State Cyclones (15-15, 6-10), 63-61. This was a good win for the Red Raiders, and we all know that wins are hard to come by on the road in the Big 12. I'm more than happy to escape with a victory. Let's get to the numbers:
|J. Jackson||40||7||1||22||Led the charge in the 2nd half.|
|M. Zeno||40||6||2||16||1st half was tremendous, never let ISU get ahead.|
|J. Plefka||16||2||0||3||Seemed to be in foul trouble all game, 3-point play was big.|
|C. Burgess||30||5||4||7||Want to see more control of offense late in game.|
|D. Dora||9||0||0||0||Not much time, still played bad defense.|
|D. White||27||5||0||11||Starting to develop 3 point shot, good game.|
|A. Voskuil||12||1||2||2||Late steal and basket was huge.|
|M. Prince||4||0||0||0||Minimal minutes.|
|D. Suljagic||22||3||0||2||Good minutes defensively, still needs to work on shot.|
What Tech Did Right:
- Jackson and Zeno Led The Way: It was Zeno in the first half and Jackson in the second, with a little bit of help by Decensae White along the way. Zeno was virtually unstoppable in the first half and was instrumental in not allowing Iowa State to pull away at any one point. Jackson only had 5 points at the half and finished with 22 for the night. Although Jackson's shooting percentage (8-22) doesn't appear to be great, there were at least a couple of occasions where Jackson gathered an offensive rebound and followed with a difficult shot. Nevertheless, it was important that both Jackson and Zeno continued their current production streak heading into the Big 12 Tournament.
- Suljagic Played Defense: Both Plefka and Dora (no surprise there) had trouble guarding Hubalek and Suljagic did a masterful job of guarding Jiri through most of the game. Damir is certainly no offensive threat, but on the plus side, he normally does a decent job of blocking out and plays active post defense. It's good that he's getting a little time leading up to the tournament as I believe he's the 2nd most effective frontcourt player Tech has to offer.
- White Is Making Threes: White is really starting to show why he may be an important part of this year's team heading into the tournament. White is showing some real poise and isn't afraid to shoot, which is a real advantage on a team that doesn't have a that many scorers. White also contributed with 5 rebounds which means that he's still playing inside as well.
What Tech Did Wrong:
- Still Inconsistent: This frustrates me to no end, the fact that Plefka is coming off of a nice game against Baylor and finishes with 3 points and 2 rebounds. Dora wasn't any better as he managed not to even be in the same vicinity of any rebounds. Not to mention, but their post defense was abysmal through most of the game. There was one point early in the first half where Dora was guarding Hubalek and Dora, Hubalek missed a shot, and Dora is just watching the ball sail through the air as Hubalek was following his shot and scored on an easy put-back. That tends to epitomize the play of Dora through most of the season and despite the fact that he's played 4 years, he's never figured out that if he could be good defensively, the offense will come.
- Burgess Must Control the Offense: Late in the second half, with about 3 minutes left in the game, the pace of the game was getting very frantic. Turnovers plagued the Red Raiders and ISU was hitting shots to bring them dangerously close. Burgess has to do a better job slowing down the game and running the offense. There cannot be any frantic moments at this point in the season, Burgess has to take control and if it's not Burgess, then there should be 2 or 3 other players (Voskuil, Jackson, or Zeno) who should make attempts at doing the same.
- Spread The Wealth: I realize that Jackson and Zeno are going to be the ones who will lead this team, however, I'd still like to see a little more diversity in the offense. Other than White, who managed 7 shots, no other player shot more than 5. I want Jackson and Zeno getting a majority of the shots, but I'd still enjoy seeing some of the ancillary players get a few more shots. In the long run, I think it will help loosen the defense during a given game when there are other players who have shown the ability to score.
Tech now faces Colorado, Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in the Ford Center in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. Some folks believe that Tech needs a first round victory to secure their standing in the NCAA tournament and a victory would certainly help. Colorado, despite playing for a lame-duck coach, has some young athletic players who will be playing with nothing to lose on Thursday.