The Texas Tech Red Raiders (21-11) survived (yes that's right, survived) the Colorado Buffaloes (7-20), 81-71 to advance to the second round of the Big 12 Tournament. Up next for Tech is Kansas State (21-10).
Texas Tech guard Martin Zeno (3) shoots against Colorado in the first half of their game at the Big 12 Conference Basketball Tournament in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 8, 2007. Zeno scored 28 points in Tech's 81-71 win. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
This was not a pretty game, in fact because I was able to watch it on Tivo, I started the game at 6:11 p.m. and finished watching the game at 7:26 p.m. That includes rewinding the tape to watch Knight yell at Dora, twice. Lots of free throws and lots of fouls. Colorado does not play a smart game despite having some decent basketball players. Let's get to the DTN box score:
|J. Plefka||18||10||0||2||Rebounded very well, but struggled offensively.|
|M. Zeno||35||3||1||28||If I could sire his children I would.|
|A. Voskuil||31||1||2||7||A very quiet 31 minutes, will need his 3-point shot.|
|J. Jackson||40||2||5||13||Didn't contribute scoring, but had 5 assists.|
|C. Burgess||30||4||3||13||Surprised he had 13 points, must take better care of the ball.|
|D. White||24||2||0||12||Is playing with so much confidence, he will start next year.|
|M. Prince||2||0||0||0||Minimal minutes.|
|D. Suljagic||16||3||0||6||Good defense, looked somewhat fluid offensively.|
|D. Dora||4||0||1||0||I was scared for Darryl, really really scared.|
What Tech Did Right:
- Took Advantage of Free Throws: That was an ugly game, but a win is a win. Colorado played a sloppy and lazy defensive game which led to a ton of free throws for the Red Raiders. Tech made almost 80% of their free throws and that's what good teams do, they take advantage of the situation at hand.
- Zeno Was Awesome: I am half-way joking about having Zeno's children, because that's a medical impossibility, but I would if I could. Zeno was outstanding today and he was efficient. Zeno is starting to shoot the 3 point shot much more, which only leads to problems guarding him by opposing teams. Zeno didn't grab the rebounds he usually gets, but his scoring contribution was huge.
- White Is Developing: White is developing into a serious player right before our eyes. Over the last 3 or 4 games, Decensae has shown an ability to hit the outside jumpshot, he continues to battle for the ball and make plays. He has really developed into a solid player, both on offense and defense.
- Plefka Rebounded:Although I thought Plefka was fairly weak defensively, he did grab 10 rebounds and I can't recall the last time that happened. Tech was still out-rebounded, but I'll attribute that to the number of free-throws shot. There were a number of things I didn't like about the team from a rebounding standpoint, but Plefka played well today.
What Tech Did Wrong:
- Gave Up Too Many Offensive Boards: Plefka rebounded well and Suljagic was decent, but as a team Tech did not rebound the ball well. Colorado was able to get a number of second chance points. K-State is a very athletic and big team. This could spell some serious trouble in tomorrow's game. Tech has to get some real production from the defensive front line, including keeping the Wildcats in check.
- Must Have Production Up Front: Tech received a combined 8 points and 13 rebounds from Plefka, Dora and Suljagic. Plefka looked horrible offensively and I was scared for Dora's life at one point. Suljagic looked decent on the offensive end, which is great that he's able to contribute on both ends, but Damir has got to do a better job of keeping the defender in front of him.
- Jackson Must Make a Statement: Jackson didn't necessarily show up today, but he's got to stand up and make a statement. Jay isn't going to be playing basketball too much longer for Texas Tech and this is the time that Tech needs him to step up and be accountable. Earn his 1st team All-Big 12.
DMN's Tim MacMahon already has his game story up. Jackson had this to say about Zeno's performance:
Also, check out Tim's blog entry on the very congenial Coach Knight at the post-game press conference.
The DMN also has another article (I assume by Chip Brown, but at this point there is no author) about Knight's press conference. I could take a ton of block quotes from this article, but I'd end up lifting the entire thing. Just go read it. Okay, I lied, I love this quote about freshman, Decensae White: