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Monday Morning Matador: basketball prominence, volleyball finishes season & Kingsbury fired

Hocutt desires to make football “elite” with next hire.

This past week has felt like a lifetime with all the Thanksgiving festivities and plethora of sport events. Certain items will stand out to Red Raider fans, though, so let’s dive in.

Womens basketball picks up two wins

After their first loss of the season, the Lady Raiders bounced back in convincing fashion over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. A 78-61 victory on Tuesday came from a flurry of points put up by Texas Tech with two back-to-back 20 point quarters. Four players would see double digit figures for the third straight game including Sydney Goodson, Brittany Brewer, Zuri Sanders and Erin DeGrate. Brittany Brewer led the team with her career high 16 rebounds and 17 points (sixth double-double of her career), and Zuri Sanders also notched 10 rebounds with 11 points (fifth double-double of her career).

Saturday afternoon, Lady Raider Basketball was put to the test against a tough Houston Baptist team in the United Supermarkets Arena. Despite falling behind in the first quarter 18-15, the rally was led by Brittany Brewer in the second after she notched 19 of her own points to give Tech the slight lead at the half, 39-37. Midway through the third quarter the Huskies tied up the game at 45 all, but the Lady Raiders only turned up the heat. After claiming 43 points in the second half, Texas Tech defeated Houston Baptist 82-76. Coach Stollings remarked in the post-game presser that this was the hardest the team has fought, and it showed exactly what kind of team they’re going to be. Up next for womens basketball they will be taking on Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday at 7pm.

Football drops season finale to Baylor

It was a season that came down to the final game. In seeking bowl eligibility, Texas Tech was pitted against a Baylor team that held the same scenario: win or go home. With Jett Duffey injured, the Red Raiders trotted out pre-season QB 1 McLane Carter to lead the effort. Carter went 21 of 37 for 247 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. It was apparent that he was (at best) 80% comfortable being back on the field after a demoralizing high-ankle sprain from the Ole Miss game. Luckily for Tech, Baylor continually shot themselves in the foot via penalties and poor red zone offense throughout the first half. The second half, however, saw Baylor extend their lead and shut Tech down. Despite some flashy plays here and there, Texas Tech fell to Baylor 35-24 to put a cap on the once promising 2018 season as well as the coaching career of Kliff Kingsbury.

Hocutt holds press conference, Kliff fired

It was apparent that Kliff Kingsbury and Kirby Hocutt wanted more for this program, but Hocutt held the more arduous task of deciding when it was time to move on. We won’t know exactly when or where, but Hocutt made it plain that “this type of decision was not based on one game or one season, it was made based on a three year pattern of inconsistency. We’re not here to win five or six games and have our season end in November.” So, after a relatively short tenure at Texas Tech, Kingsbury has been removed from the head coaching position. Hocutt then made it obvious that the next coaching hire will share the character, integrity, and ability to build an elite program known for winning the right way. Texas Tech will not pursue Seth Littrell (UNT) and Neal Brown (Troy), but will opt for a higher tiered prospect - current interests seem to align on Dana Holgerson (West Virginia), Brent Venables (Clemson), Jim Leavitt (Oregon), Matt Wells (Utah St.), Mike Norvell (Memphis), and one Mike Leach from Washington State University. Hocutt did not take any delight in removing Kingsbury, and the clip below reflects how much he and Texas Tech have respected him for his time here.

Mens basketball thrashing opponents

Basketball had a busy week, traveling to Kansas City for the Hall of Fame Classic tournament. In their first match up Texas Tech was matched with USC. A relatively troubled program last year, the Trojans were looking at 2018 with a healthy squad whose sights are firmly set on the NCAA tournament. Coach Beard would have a troublesome first half watching Texas Tech go down 32-23. In the second half a rally of over 80% shooting and near 20 point games for multiple players, the Red Raiders were able to turn a (soon after the half) 13 point deficit into a 15 point victory. Tech cruised past USC 78-63.

The next day Tech would face Nebraska, who had won their first game as well. Nebraska is a team that has recently undergone some coaching changes in the hope to bring back some competitive edge to the “Nebrasketball” motif. It would not find traction in this game. Despite having a near 85 points per game average, Nebraska was hard pressed to manage 26 points in each half. Meanwhile Tech was led by Jarrett Culver’s 26 point effort and Matt Mooney’s 15 point effort to help bolster the Red Raiders to a 70-52 victory over the Huskers.

Then Saturday the team came back home to take on a Northern Colorado team that won some twenty-six games last year. It could be a trap game, as the Bears were known (and for good reason) for their ability to knock down three-pointers when they so chose. Coach Beard simply stated that “they were a team that had our full respect and attention,” and for Northern Colorado - that was a death sentence. The Bears were unable to get their three-point machine started, managing only 4 for 24 on the night. The Red Raiders were, contrarily, on fire. Kyler Edwards was a steely-eyed missile man who managed 19 points without missing a bucket all night. Culver had another 20 point game and Deshawn Corprew stacked on 13 of his own points. The game ended in a near three-digit bonanza, 93-62 Texas Tech. Coach Beard and squad are now 6-0 on the season with signature wins that will strengthen a NCAA Tournament bid in March. Up next, Tech will travel to Miami to take on Memphis this Saturday at 1:30pm.

Volleyball finishes season with a loss to ISU

Texas Tech volleyball closed its 2018 season on Friday with a three framed loss at Iowa State. Despite an earlier four set victory back in September, the Red Raiders were unable to perform at that same level with a .117 hitting to the Cyclone’s .424. Emily Hill had 10 kills and nine digs on the day, Brooke Kanas had seven kills and Chandler Atwood had six. Iowa State was able to out block Texas Tech 8 to 2, which helped the Cyclones to take and manage the lead in each frame. The loss put Texas Tech at seventh in the Big 12 (where they were picked in preseason), but managed to have back to back winning seasons for the first time since 2000 and 2001. The Red Raiders finished 17-13 on the year, 6-10 in conference.