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West Virginia Mountaineers 89, Texas Tech Red Raiders 86 | Game Analysis

The Texas Tech Red Raiders forced overtime against the West Virginia Mountaineers, but fell in overtime to the Mountaineers.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

Son of a gun, I felt like Texas Tech was robbed of a couple of late game opportunities to win this game with a non-review and a review by some referees that were generally pretty awful. It was frustrating to see this team create opportunities at the end of the game to have a chance. I hardly ever write about refs, but these guys were ticky-tack for most of the night, for both teams, but there was a play that wasn’t even reviewed that gave the ball to WVU on an out-of bounds play and then a play was reviewed, that reversed a call where the video evidence wasn’t clear. You just hate to see a team fight so hard not to get the opportunity. Refs hardly win or lose the game for a team, there are always plenty of opportunities to make that up during the course of the game, but these calls happened in the last 0:45 seconds or so.

This team is hanging around teams and I think that speaks a lot to the ability of HC Tubby Smith to field a team and this team just isn't going to give up.  Really in any situation.  I think that speaks to Smith and the team.  This team is going to win some conference games. I'm confident of that.  They're getting close.

Star of the Game | G Toddrock Gotcher: Gotcher was 6 of 10 from the floor, 3 of 4 from the three-point line, and finished with 17 points, 5 assists, 3 turnovers and 1 steal. Gotcher was, unfortunately, the defender on Henderson that made the three to force overtime, but Gotcher played on heck of a game. And this is the second straight game where Gotcher and Dusty Hannahs are getting time on the floor together. Hannas scored 14 points on 4 of 9 from the floor. If these two can get going, this team is going to win some conference games.

Three Takeaways:

1. On-Ball Defense: The on-ball perimeter defense is just abysmal. I know that the opposing teams are pretty good themselves, but there’s no anchor under the basket to block shots and guards are getting passed by like there’s no defense. It seemed like WVU shot way too many layups, but there were layups where the Texas Tech defense was allowing drives in a set defense. WVU shot 55% from the floor for the night, 48% in the first half and 62% in the second half and 75% in overtime. That’s simply unacceptable and the fact that Texas Tech was even in this game speaks to this team being able to hit shots in the second half and WVU’s inability to hit free throws and put this game away in regulation. It’s not a coincidence that C Kade Tapsoba has been out the last two games with a dislocated finger. He could be a defensive presence in the middle that could help guard against diving guards.

2. Where’s Turner: Turner is in the game, receiving heavy minutes over the last two games, but he’s all but disappeared since his early season offensive explosion. Turner is 1 of 13 over his last two games in 50 minutes of time. Turner did have 7 assists and just 1 turnover against WVU, but for this team to be effective he has to be better. Randy Onwuasor had 3 turnovers in 6 minutes, so Tubby Smith didn’t really consider him an option for long, so it was up to Turner. Part of Turner’s appear, at least for me initially, was that he was able to drive and get past defenders in non-conference play and create issues for teams defensively while playing really terrific on-ball defense. Turner is having a tough time containing offensive players two games into the conference and he just has to be better.

3. Strong Frontcourt: Jordan Tolbert was just terrific last night, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 boards. He helped Texas Tech have an 9 rebound advantage against WVU and that’s something that almost never happens. Jaye Crockett was on the bench for the better part of the second half due to foul trouble, but he was 5 of 7 from the floor and helped lead an offense that needed a boost when he entered the game late in the second half. We’ve talked about the play of Gotcher, Hannahs, Tolbert and Crockett all having terrific games and now this team is just lacking strong point guard play and a defensive center to help anchor this defense. It’s getting closer and this team is going to win some conference games with how this team is hanging around and competing with some pretty good teams.

Charts: Thanks to the good folks at StatSheet.