Don't quit. Devaugntah Williams hits a whirling drive with 2 seconds remaining to lift the Texas Tech Red Raiders over the Auburn Tigers, 46-44. I thought for sure that Texas Tech would get buried in the first half after Texas Tech couldn't keep the ball, or turned it over or just couldn't hit a shot. But at the most it was maybe a 10 point lead and Auburn could never run away with the game. Something similar happened in the second half, but Auburn could never pull him away. And the missed free throw, oh my, the missed free throws, made this game so much closer than it should have been
Star of the Game
F Norense Odiase: Williams hit the game winner, but Odiase was incredibly solid, scoring 15 points, grabbing 7 boards, blocking 1 and turning the ball over 3 times. Odiase was huge, both literally and figuratively and bounced back after two previous quiet games.
1. A Three at the Half. Toddrick Gotcher had a huge last few minutes in the first half and Texas Tech made up a handful of points at teh end of the half. Auburn's TJ Lang made a layup with 3:04 remaining and that was the last time that Auburn would score in the half as Gotcher made a layup, assisted by Randy Onwuasor, Gotcher is fouled and makes a free throw and then Odiase makes a jumper in the lane and with 0:01 seconds remaining, KT Harrell fouls Gotcher as he attempts a three-point shot. Gotcher makes 2 of 3 free throws and rather than being down by 9 in the first half, Texas Tech is only down by 1 to the Tigers.
2. It Is Supposed to be the Charity Stripe. Texas Tech was 17 of 31 from the free throw line and if Texas Tech had lost this game, you could squarely point at how this team is doing a terrific job of getting to the free throw line, but couldn't consistently make free throws to save their lives. That's always been one of the knocks against PG Robert Turner, who can be fantastic at times, but he can also lose focus and be very hit-or-miss with his free throws and he was 3 of 6 last night. Same thing with Onwuasor, his shot is just so inconsistent and he was 2 of 4. The point guards have to be better than that. It should be noted that Gotcher was 7 of 11 and Odiase was 3 of 4.
3. A Perfect Timeout. The score is tied 44-44 after Williams hits two free throws to tie the score. A Gotcher block results in a fast break and it looks like there may be an opening as the Red Raiders are running down the court, but thankfully, head coach Tubby Smith can see that this fast-break is falling apart and he calls a timeout before Williams can throw the ball away. I thought for sure that Smith would just let the kids run and try to score, but this was a near turnover and had Smith not called a timeout, it was near certain that the ball was going to be thrown away. The end result was an isolation play for Williams, who before his two free throws, had not scored at all and struggled with foul trouble and his shot for the rest of the game. Smith absolutely trusted Williams, who is this team's best shooter to drive and create and Williams delivered. Why Williams? That's a good question, but it was clear that Smith wanted Williams to have the ball.
4. Struggling From the Field. There were stretches of this game where I was unsure that Texas Tech would ever score again. Texas Tech made just 14 shots and made only 41% of their shots and made just 1 of 9 three-point shots. It was a true struggle offensively, but Texas Tech did the same thing to Auburn defensively and forced the Tigers to only shoot 36% from the field. Generally speaking, Turner, Onwuasor and Williams struggled to do anything, even to inbound the ball and it was ugly offensively. Texas Tech only had 4 assists on the night to 17, yes, 17 turnovers. Onwuasor was 0-5 from the field and he's continuing to struggle offensively and I really wanted Turner to do a better job of going to the ball and helping out the offense. The inability to just throw the ball in was incredibly frustrating and I was begging Turner to post up and take control. That just has to be better.
5. Small Things. I haven't mentioned Clark Lammert takes at least 1 charge, usually 2, every time he is on the floor. Lammert creates turnovers because of how he is willing to take charge after charge. High five. Zach Smith had another quiet night offensively, just 2 points, but he grabbed 7 rebounds and had 2 blocks and he's just so good in so many ways other than having to have the ball in his hands. Justin Gray had a huge block and a few steals and a huge dunk that was his only two points of the game. I didn't realize it until I looked at the box score, but the only other player that scored in double-figures was Gotcher, who finished with 12 points.