MVPRobert Lewandowski | Put the most points on the board last night and for a team that didn't shoot well, especially in the second half, he was consistently scoring for the entire game.
Key Numbers37 to 30 | TTU out-rebounded UNT by 7, although UNT had 15 offensive boards.
92% | TTU from the line for the night.
20 to 12 | Another rough night turning the ball over and not a ton of easy buckets. Minnis had 5 and Tolbert had 4 of those turnovers.
THE RESULT | DOING WHAT DIDN'T HAPPEN LAST YEAR | The thing I took away from the game yesterday was that this team and this coach did what didn't happen last year. Yes, Texas Tech was on the road last year and so that's a factor, but last year against North Texas, it came down to free throws and continuing to play defense and Texas Tech did those two things last night. For the night, the team was 23 of 25 from the line. Couldn't hit free throws last year, but did this year and as you know by now, I like celebrating wins and this is no different. North Texas isn't a chump basketball program, and they've elevated themselves to the point of being a good and successful program, while Texas Tech had fallen significantly. This is at the very least a step in the right direction.
TY NURSE | Was very much off from the floor, only 3 of 9, but he hit 9 of 10 free throws and scored 15 points. Nurse was solid, only 2 turnovers, for most of the night, although I think he had 1 bad turnover late. No matter, he was more solid than not for most of the night and I think that unless Nurse hits some early shots, 9 shots is a few too many for him. He's not at Texas Tech to score, but handle the ball, run the offense and score when needed. Defensively, I didn't really pay attention as to who was guarding UNT's Chris Jones, but Jones was fantastic last night, with 31 points. I'm sure that Nurse, Willis and Gotcher were all guarding Jones at some point and the the guards, not just Nurse, need to do a better job of stopping opposing guards from penetrating the lane. They're going to see a lot of that this year in the Big 12 and without C Kader Tapsoba, who I'm guessing is going to be a defensive presence, to alter some shots, there's not going to be much inside to stop those penetrating guards.
JAVAREZ WILLIS | I thought that Willis was a little lackadaisical defensively, and although he started, I thought that he struggled to stay with his man defensively so he started and then sat until the end of the game when Gillispie needed another ball-handler on the court. Only 3 points (all on free throws), 1 assist and 2 turnovers, so not a huge contribution other than hitting a couple from the charity stripe at the end of the game.
TODDRICK GOTCHER | I like Gotcher's attitude, he has a nice mid-range game, while last night he was the only player to high a three-point shot. Gotcher was 5 of 8 from the floor with 12 points. Gotcher gave good effort on defense and that's why he was on the floor most of the night.
DESHON MINNIS | "Biggie" struggled last night, lost his man defensively on a backdoor cut, only made 1 of 4 from the floor and turned the ball over 5 times. Minnis was good the other night because he created for himself and drove to the lane, while last night he tried to force the action too much, trying some difficult inside passes. If he's better defensively, then he'll play a handful of minutes.
KEVIN WAGNER | Wagner made his debut last night, he scored 2 points had 2 assists but he had a really bad turnover at the end of the first half and Wagner found himself squarely on the bench for the rest of the game. It's a life lesson for Wagner and he has to know that he can't turn the ball over and that's what BCG wants him to know.
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JORDAN TOLBERT | Tolbert is what I wanted D'walyn Roberts to grow into after watching him in high school. Tolbert already is that guy. He's got enough size to play inside and as you all saw, he likes to dunk the basketball. Tolbert works defensively, but he's got to work on his post defense and he needs to know that he can't set screens and offensive fouls at the same time. Tolbert had 6 boards, 7 points and 2 steals. His two steals came on him guarding his defender and stealing the entry pass and that's not easy to do. Speaks a bit to his athleticism.
ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI | Big Lew came up big on the line last night, scoring 17 points and made all 7 free throws. Lew needs to be better rebounding the ball, but he did a much better job of creating shots for himself and not letting the defender affect the shot. Still, he's the lone senior on this team and he led the team to a win. Good for him.
JAYE CROCKETT | Crockett also made his debut last night and you can see from watching him play why he's so important to this team. Scoring 9 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, he was rusty with 4 turnovers, but that's to be expected since it was his first game back. I stand by the idea that he's this team's best player and really needs his size to be successful this year.
TERRAN PETTEWAY | Didn't play a lick in the first half, but he played a good part of the second half and he made a difference. He's going to earn minutes because he plays defense and he doesn't disappoint. A high-energy player and although he only has 1 steal, it seemed like he affected a handful of plays in the second half that created turnovers.
I didn't have a huge problem with anything that BCG did. I'd love to know why SF Jaron Nash isn't playing, but Gillispie mentioned Nash after the game and I'm thinking that its an effort situation in practice. He's got to earn it. I also very much liked how BCG asked his players to go into the stand and high five those students that did show up last night. He's trying desperately to create a connection with the fans and I think he wants those players to be appreciate of the effort.