It wasn’t the best start, but the Texas Tech Red Raiders ended up with an easy win against the Central Arkansas Bears, 79-57. The Red Raiders looked very rough around the edges after having plenty of time off for finals. Central Arkansas wasn’t a good team and this score could have been even more lopsided in favor of Texas Tech given certain circumstances. At the end of the first half, Texas Tech was still up by 13 and ended up holding Central Arkansas to 42% from the field for the game, while shooting 47% from the field.
Star of the Game | C Dejan Kravic: We’ve really all been waiting for this. Kravic has been in a season-long slump for the better part of the year, so much so that Kravic lost his starting spot today. But Kravic responded nicely, scoring 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal. Kravic was nifty around the basket, as he was last year, and looked like he did last year. Kravic won’t win any beauty contests, but he can be effective.
1. Bench Play: I really enjoyed watching the bench play this game. With the starters not being able to get to a fast start, I thought the bench came in and played relatively well. Aside from Kravic, as mentioned above, Toddrock Gotcher came in and hit 4 of 5 from the floor and finished with 10 points, 5 assists, 2 steals and 0 turnovers. Really just a fantastic line, and go ahead and add 2 of 3 from beyond the three-point line. I also liked the play of aaron Ross, who didn't really score, but he did grab 5 boards in 14 minutes and helped Texas Tech to an 11 rebound advantage . Luke Adams gave the team some quality minutes at the point and calmed the team down. Overall, the bench scored 37 of the team's 79 points, which means that the starters only out-scored the bench by 5.
2. Points Down Low: Texas Tech very much dominated with 40 points in the paint, a large part of that was Kravic's 13 points, but guys like Jaye Crockett, Jordan Tolbert and Kader Tapsoba all had a hand in making sure that they scored in and around the basket. It also resulted in 28 free throws, making 21 of them. That's something I'd love to see continue through the season, but this team is really goin gto have to force the issue. I think the players are there to do it, it's just a matter of giving them enough room to operate.
3. Those Slow Starts: We've talked a bit about how this team really has to shoot well in order to play well. That was the case and the team hit 36% of their three point shots in the first half, which is just fine, making 4 of 11, plus making 52% of the field goals. That's good winning basketball. However, I think it's just a matter of time before Tubby starts to fiddle with the starting lineup, especially if Hannahs continues to be off and on. Hannahs didn't play that much in this game because he had an intentional foul and Smith sat him the rest of the game, but the guard have to start making their outside shots. I'd also mention that Robert Turner got just 19 minutes and he did score 9 points and only registered 1 assist and turnover, but he has to be better at creating the offense to ensure that offense gets off to a better start.
In fact, after the game, via the LAJ, Tubby said that these seemingly simple lapses were problematic, but certainly not an effort problem:
"We’ve got to get a lot better, and what concerns me is the slippage we sometimes keep having," Smith said. "All the things you think are basic fundamentals. Once you start the game, sometimes those basic fundamentals slippage is what concerns me and the retention of that. It’s basketball. It’s not like you’re having to save someone’s life. Our kids play hard, sometimes they just don’t play very smart."
Charts: Thanks to the good folks at StatSheet.