The Red Raiders lose to the LSU Tigers, 69-64, in overtime, after being up by 12 in the first half. It was a strange turn of events that even led to getting to overtime, second half fouls, a phantom whistle and a questionable 5-second call and a turnover inbounding the ball and the game is tied and Texas Tech simply didn’t have enough to keep pace, but they never got blown out. Just think, LSU, picked to finish 4th in the SEC had to take a Texas Tech team, playing 6 newcomers and only one senior, to overtime at home in order to beat the Red Raiders. You tell me which part of that sentence is out of whack? And a team that played three true freshmen down the stretch and in overtime.
Really though, I couldn't be more proud of how this team played and this game gives me a ton of hope moving forward. This is a very young group and this is just game #2 for these guys and the very first road test. Yeah, the second-half melt-down was problematic, but I'm not at all down about this loss.
Star of the Game
F Norense Odiase & F Zach Smith: Odiase was strong, real strong, inside and he's completely surprised with what he brings to the team. Odiase finished with 13 points on 5 of 7 from the floor and 7 rebounds and two blocks. Heck of a young game. And then, Smith had 13 points as well with 7 rebounds and a block and two assists.
1. This Was Not Expected: I was expecting some sort of chaos or at the very least some sort of disorganization or inability to put together a coherent offense. This was not the case. LSU is not a bad team and Texas Tech as able to put together a really impressive first half, led by a team that was incredibly patient and calm and collected. There was no rush or hurry to the freshmen and I think that's going to pay dividends this season. Bottom line . . . this team was not intimidated. This team was able to have a very coherent offense able to force LSU to be impatient through much of the first half.
2. A Plague of Fouls: The second half was dominated by fouls, mostly called on Texas Tech, and I think LSU was in the bonus darn near within the first three minutes of the first half and the problem wasn't that the fouls were called, it was that those fouls were not called in the first half. Really inconsistent and I'm not crediting or blaming the outcome on those calls, it was jut a shock to see in the first half to the second half to see things called so closely.
3. Freshmen Didn't Shrink: Texas Tech really is going to be okay and the freshmen are going to be okay, maybe even this year. I was pessimistic that the freshmen would be able to make a huge difference or be leaders on this team, simply because of their youth, but they really do play well. Norense Odiase has nice moves inside and is incredibly patient. Zach Smith has athleticism to spare and is ridiculously talented and his passing from the high post is really a huge part of his game. Justin Gray is flashing and it's not connecting just yet, but when he does, it's going to be really good. And Texas Tech really isn't even contributing at full strength as Justin Jamison, who I'm glad to see was traveling with the team, hasn't even played just yet. so yes, there's going to be plenty of rough spots, but Texas Tech is ridiculously young and they're pretty good. If you want a team to follow this year that's going to give you joy and you get to watch them grow? This is it.
4. Turnovers Were the Downfall: I wish I had the splits between the first half and the second half, but if I had to guess, the turnover margin would be quite different. Despite the closely called second half and some questionable calls, it was the Texas Tech turnovers that ultimately cost this team the game as Texas Tech had a whopping 17 turnovers to end the game to only 9 assists. Randy Onwuasor had some turnovers late that were costly and he seemed to just be getting a bit ahead of himself in a couple of moments and he just needs to slow down.
5. Scoring Issues: Schematically, I love so many pieces to the puzzle here, but long-term, I think that Texas Tech will have nights where they struggle to score a bit and right now, I'm not a fan of having Tonwuasor and Robert Turner starting together. Turn can score okay, but Onwuasor has issues putting the ball in the basket and if Turner is driving, there really isn't any sort of outside threat and I think I'd prefer to have Toddrick Gotcher or Devaughntah Williams starting along side Turner with Onwuasor being a back-up solely at the point guard. I still have yet to see Onwuasor improve all that much offensively and with this team playing so many young parts, I think they need to have as many offensive pieces on the floor as possible.