Heart Attack: One characteristic the Red Raiders have exhibited all season long is heart. Resilience. Frequently, Tech has fallen behind by large margins and looked they were ready for the knockout punch. But each and every time they fought their way off the ropes and battled to the final buzzer. Consequently, their worst loss was by 16 points to Oral Roberts on the road. Thus far the Red Raiders have not been thoroughly destroyed.
That trend held true against Baylor. The Bears pushed their margin to 11 points on a dunk by Quincy Acy with 12:55 to play and it looked like the Red Raiders might be down for a serious drubbing by the talented visitors. But Tech got up off the deck and cut the Baylor lead to four with 9:27 to play on an amazing fade-away jumper from Jaye Crockett. DeShon Minnis' jumper with 6:52 remaining got the Red Raiders within four again, but Tech faded from that point on.
Eventually these Red Raiders will be rewarded for their valor.
Absence of Ammo: By and large, the Red Raiders played credibly against a team that could win the national championship. Indeed, had it not been for one prolonged offensive dry spell, Tech might have won. Unfortunately, the Red Raiders went over seven minutes without hitting a field goal and that's where Baylor won the game.
Between Jaron Nash's layup with 52 seconds remaining in the first half and Ty Nurse's three-pointer with 13:46 remaining in the game, Tech was ice cold. And during this period the Bears expanded a one-point lead to a 10-point cushion. At that point, you could have stuck an ice pick in the Red Raiders because their upset dreams were frozen solid.
Wasted Minutes: Terran Petteway played 10 minutes against Baylor, went 0-3 from the field, had a foul, a rebound and an assist. And with the exception of the Southeastern Louisiana game, that has been a typical Petteway performance of late. In other words, Petteway is just not contributing right now.
Perimeter Stopper Needed: Brady Heslip's four-of-six performance from three-point country didn't sink the Red Raiders, but it sure blew a big hole in Tech's stern. And many of Heslip's open looks came against short guards Javarez Willis and Ty Nurse. Henceforth, I'd like to see Jaron Nash used as a stopper against the opposition's best marksman. He has the quickness to play on the perimeter, and the length to bother any guard six-foot-three or shorter.
Shooting Woes: The Red Raiders, normally an excellent shooting team, picked a bad time to develop a shaky hand. Tech hit only forty percent of their field goal attempts, and a good many of those misses were chippies inside and open, in-rhythm looks from the perimeter. The Red Raiders usually knock down those sorts of shots.
That said, one must credit Baylor's defense. The strategy to periodically double Tech guards at the top of the key disrupted the Red Raider offense. And Perry Jones and Quincy Acy hammered Jordan Tolbert inside just enough to render him a minor factor on offense.
Biggie Turning the Corner: DeShon Minnis was Andy Ellis' Player of the Game, and I cannot fault the choice. He's probably the team's best defender, and may be the best playmaker as well. Minnis needs to improve in two areas to become an elite lead guard. He obviously needs to improve his free thrown shooting because his ability to penetrate guarantees he will get many opportunities. And he needs to develop an outside shot. Right now Minnis is hesitant to shoot from the perimeter even when wide open. If he continues to forego the jumper, defenders will play him for the drive exclusively and render him far less effective on the offensive end. But you've got to love Minnis' promise.
Crockett's First Half Stat Line: Six points, two rebounds and a steal in six minutes.