Finishing Strong

The Red Raiders took care of business down the stretch to seal another win.

Billy Gillispie has been trying to get his players to finish strong in non-conference play this year, and his young team did just that on Tuesday night.


The Red Raiders (6-5) took down CSU-Bakersfield in the United Spirit Arena, 74-58, in their first ever meeting with the Roadrunners.


Texas Tech started the game off slow getting down by as much as five points early in the game which saw 13 lead changes.


But this game was about the finish for Tech.


In the last four minutes of the game, the Red Raiders went on an 11-2 run icing the game sending the Roadrunners (6-7) back to Bakersfield licking their wounds.


The 11-2 run may have put icing on the cake for Tech, but a technical foul late in the second half sent them on a 19-8 run in the last few minutes of the game.


CSU-Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes has been coaching for 20 years, but this is his first with the Roadrunners.


"I wished he could have warned the kid before he gave us a technical," he said about the technical foul. "We've got to overcome those things on the road, but I thought it was a turning point in the game."


After the technical occurred, the Red Raiders surged ahead after Ty Nurse made the two free throws.


Then with time running down on the shot clock, Terran Petteway hit one of his two three pointers on the game resulting in a five point swing the Roadrunners would never recover from.


Billy Gillispie said Petteway's play was key in the second half and it may have been what he needed to get back to form.


"Hopefully that's going to get him going," he said. "He was out 10 days because he had surgery on his wrist on December 7, so maybe he's going to get back to playing like he can, and we need him to."


But the star of the game Tuesday was Jordan Tolbert.


The freshman from Fort Worth had his fourth game in a row and fifth game of the season scoring 20 or more points.


He had 27 points, which tied a season high along with six rebounds to go with two steals. He is now 15th all-time in the Red Raider record books with five 20 point games.


Gillispie said Tolbert is still making mistakes, but from day to day in practice, he continues to surprise him.


"He's getting better on almost every single play, and that's a Freshman who's basically in his first semester on campus," he said, "and he's being asked to do way too much, but he's responding very well."


Tolbert said all of the credit belongs to his teammates because they are getting better at distributing the ball and he is getting better along with them.


And with Robert Lewandowski in the high post, the Red Raiders are getting closer to the kind of offense Gillispie wants to run.


Gillispie said the Senior's passing has helped Tolbert grow as a player and become a true scoring threat.


With Big 12 Conference play only days away, Tech knows the road is only going to get tougher, and Tolbert will be challenged by more talented and athletic players.


Gillispie said the caliber of team they have been playing is not anywhere near the dangerous Big 12 and Tolbert is going to see the difference. But the Freshman has seen the best from each team he has played and he has passed the test.


"They tried really hard tonight to not let him score, and he was still able to score," he said. "He can make plays that coaches don't have to call and those are special players."




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