In the midst of a mid-week battle, the Red Raiders found themselves trailing Abilene Christian by one with under 8 minutes to go in the game - not exactly what the Tech hopeful had anticipated from this matchup. From that point on, Texas Tech outscored the Wildcats by a margin of 16-6, sealing the win of a gritty game between two defensive minded ball clubs.
My gameball undoubtedly goes to Tech guard Kyler Edwards. With a finishing line of 18/7/1, he was really the only guy to get anything going on the offensive end of the floor - still only shooting 4/12 from the field. Outside of Edwards, our main scoring contributor came from the charity strike, with nearly half of our points (25 of 51) coming from there. While shooting 37 free throws in a game is good, going 12-43 from the field and 2-15 from the 3-point line is not. With the Big 12 home opener lurking around the corner, this team is going to have find a way to score more often and more consistently, or they will be in for a rough outing against Kansas next week.
What is promising to see is that we were able to win this game at the end of the day. It was a potential trap game, with a very underrated and probable tournament team in Abilene Christian, visiting mid-week with two of our starters sidelined with an injury. Freshman Nimari Burnett played well, scoring all ten of our bench points, along with a thunderous and-one dunk off of a fast break.
When it is all said and done, the Red Raiders were able to use what they are best at to win a tough game. With basically a six-man rotation, they were able to grind their way to the free-throw line and make enough of those to seal the deal. It was definitely not a game that we would like to model the rest of our season after, but it could have turned out much worse than it did.
There is no doubt in my mind that Chris Beard will be pushing this team even harder than normal, knowing that the Jayhawks will be in Lubbock in a mere seven days. The top half of the Big 12 has some very strong talent this year and the Red Raiders will be right in the thick of things. With some adjustments on the offensive end and Shannon, McCullar and now Tyreek Smith hopefully coming back from injury soon, this team will be just fine moving forward if they stick to what they know best - defense.