If you are going to beat the #1 team in the country you have to play a perfect game. Unfortunately, Tech did not play perfect, at least offensively. No doubt the better team won tonight, but there was real optimism that Tech might pull an upset at home. The Red Raiders are a tough gritty team and they proved that to us all over the last two games. Against Iowa State they battled back from 18 points down to have a chance to win with three minutes to go. Again tonight, midway through the second half, the Jayhawks went up 10 and it looked like they were about to blow the doors off the game. Tech was able to put together a 9-0 run, tie the game, and were again in position to win the with three minutes to go. If Tech continues to play with this grit every night the wins will come. Tubby Smith is building something great here and faster than ANYONE expected. There is no reason to be down on this team after a close loss to a Kansas squad that could win the national championship. How nice is to be excited about Texas Tech basketball again?
Neither team shot well in the first half. Tech was only 31% from the field and a disappointing 7 for 14 at the free throw line. I really didn't think Tech was going to have a chance to win this game if the free throw shooting did not improve. Defensively, Tech was absolutely fabulous. They held KU to 29% shooting and forced 9 turnovers. The teams went into the locker room at the half with KU leading 29-27.
KU came out very aggressive in the second half and methodically built up a 10 point lead that looked to be headed to 20. Tech responded with a 9-0 run that helped tie the game and keep it close the rest of the way. The defense did break down a few times allowing some back door cuts and open three point shots. Gotcher and Odiase led the comeback, but in the end we just couldn't generate enough offense to get over the hump. You have to hand it to the Jayhawks, they are a great team and great teams find a way to close out tough road games.
- Odiase (14 points) and Gotcher (13 points) were the leading scorers tonight.
- Kansas won on the boards 42-26.
- Tech struggled from the free throw line again going 9 for 19 (47%) and missed the front end of several 1 and 1 bonus opportunities. This stat must make Tubby Smith sick since his team, for the season, shoots over 70%.
- Leading scorer Devaugntah Williams only had 4 points tonight. Coach Smith was visibly upset with Williams tonight for his decision making and overall play. Williams was on the bench a lot in the last 10 minutes of the game.
- Tech's defense forced 15 turnovers tonight and held Kansas to their lowest point total of the season. Our defense is the real deal!
- Once again, Justin Grey was fabulous off the bench scoring 10 points, 2 blocks and a steal.
- Official attendance for the game was 14,231, even with the students still out on the holiday break. The arena seats just over 15,000, so a big shout out to the fans! I think the saying goes "If you build it, they will come". Tubby Smith is building it for sure.