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Texas Tech loses in Big 12 showdown at Kansas

The Red Raiders were boat-raced by a scorching hot KU team

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Last year’s game in Allen Fieldhouse marked the coming out party for what would become an elite Texas Tech team. This year’s game at Allen Fieldhouse, unfortunately, confirmed that this year’s team does not quite have the same championship makeup. A slow start for Tech and a three point barrage from Kansas in the first half made for a deficit that was too much to overcome, and ultimately created the largest loss for the Red Raiders since January of last season.

Kansas came out swinging in the early portion of the game, taking a 10-2 lead. Jarrett Culver scored the first four points for the Red Raiders however his game would swing after a controversial charge, with the defenders’ heels were in the restricted area, on what would’ve been a 3-point play opportunity from a sensational dunk in traffic. At that point he had four points on 2-4 shooting and had been creating all the offense for Tech. After that second foul, Culver would go 3-13 from the field, 0-4 from three, and would be generally out of rhythm. Kansas would end the half on another 10-2 run to lead 46-26 at the break. Kansas shot 60% (9-15) from deep compared to only 17% from the Red Raiders.

Kansas started the half with a three to extend the lead to 49-26, however Tech would slowly claw their way back to within 13 points after a brief seven point spurt in two minutes from Davide Moretti. Kansas struggled to rebound on defense, however the disoriented Texas Tech offense simply could not capitalize on second opportunities. Another spurt of threes from KU put the game out of reach, and the only thing keeping this game from being the worst loss for the Red Raiders under Chris Beard was an 8-0 run by Josh Mballa and the dynamic 3rd string gang to cut the margin of victory to a somewhat reasonable 16 points. The 79-63 loss was the largest of the season for Tech, and the 20 point halftime deficit was the largest any Tech team has faced with Chris Beard as coach. Simply stated: Texas Tech finally got whipped by a team under Coach Beard. Unfortunately that was bound to happen at some point.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Key Stats:

  • Devon Dotson, LaGerald Vick and Dedric Lawson went an absurd 9-12 from the three point line. Only one other team has made nine or more threes against Tech in Big 12 play, and that was Baylor. The other Jayhawks only shot 4/18 from beyond the arch, but those three players absolutely killed the Red Raiders. The last time I’ve felt so frustrated watching a team torch the Red Raiders from deep was the 2016 Oklahoma Final 4 team featuring Buddy Hield. That team beat Tech 91-67 in Norman after hitting 12-23 threes.
  • Jarrett Culver had his worst game of the season, shooting 5-17 from the field and 0-6 from deep for only ten points. At this point it’s obvious that opposing defenses are going to absolutely smother him at all times. I loved the approach that Chris Beard utilized in the second half, however the shots just didn’t fall. He put Culver on ball to start the possession before using either Moretti or Mooney as a primary ball handlers, which freed up Culver to play off ball, where he excels. Unfortunately Culver could not hit anything tonight. He missed open looks and was generally rattled
  • The entire Texas Tech team also looked uncharacteristically rattled. The lack of success was not from a lack of effort, however the mental lapses on defense seemed to always come after a big shot on the other end, and on offense the shots never did seem to fall. The team only shot 6-28 from three, and missed around ten open looks. Had Tech made their threes at an average 35% rate, the game likely would’ve been a lot closer.
  • No player scored more than three points off the bench for the Red Raiders. The only bench players with an ORTG higher than 100 were Avery Benson and Josh Mballa, who both played a grand total of five minutes. That lack of bench production will not win many games in the Big 12.
  • Tariq Owens quietly had a brilliant game, as he put up 12 points, ten boards, and three blocks.

Up next

Texas Tech hosts West Virginia in another ESPN Big Monday showdown. The game will be at 8:00 on ESPN, and will serve as a great opportunity for the Red Raiders to get back on track.