Tough Stretches

The Red Raiders have struggled lately to get a win, but it has come down to their inability to perform in crucial stretches of the game.

It has been stretches in games that have doomed the Red Raiders this season, and the main reason the squad sits at 0-2 in Big 12 Conference play rather than 1-1 or even 2-0.

Against Oklahoma State, the Red Raiders pulled within two with just three minutes and 14 seconds left to go in the game, before the Cowboys finished the game on a 10-4 run to seal the 67-59 win.

"I see too much confidence when we make a shot and not enough confidence when we miss one," Tech head coach Billy Gillispie said following the loss. "That's a sign of mental toughness and that's something that has to be developed. You can't only play when things are going well for you."

Against the Baylor Bears on Wednesday, that's exactly what happened again, but with Tech getting a lead and not being able to hold onto it.

 The Red Raiders went on a 6-0 run to start the game but saw that slip away as the Bears regained a 9-8 lead with 15:17 left in the first half.

The rest of the first half was a battle as both teams tried to get a comfortable lead, but never happened and Baylor went into the locker room leading 32-31.

With them only down by one at the half, senior Robert Lewandowski said the team felt like they could win the game and beat No. 4 Baylor. 

"We were going to win, we were going to take it away from them," he said. "We all understand it's a 40 minute game, we all knew we had another half, but that first half we were rolling, we were motoring."

Lewandowski went on to say the first half was the best half they had played all season in terms of offense and defense combined.

On the other sideline the message was much different, as the Bears had arguably played their worst half since earlier this season.

In the first half the biggest issue for the Bears was holding onto the ball as they committed 10 turnovers and their starting five went 9-for-15 from the field.

Following the game Baylor head coach Scott Drew said the message was simple at halftime – take care of the ball.

"I think first and foremost we had to take care of the ball and not turn it over and just be ball strong and cut harder," he said about adjustments at halftime. "I think that was effective, then second we made some defensive adjustments to help out with things."

Coming out of the half, Baylor immediately looked like the No. 4 team in the country, as they were relentless during a 12-2 run, which spanned 5:36.

"We just had to get a couple of stops and the scoring would do itself," Pierre Jacskon said about getting back on track in the second half. "So we just had to play defense and try to get some easy buckets."

Defense is exactly what the Bears played, and played well as the Red Raiders first field goal of the second half didn't come until the 13:46 mark when Ty Nurse nailed a 3-pointer.

Tech sophomore Javarez Willis, who led the Red Raiders with 13 points and grabbed four defensive rebounds, said they just couldn't get the gears turning in the second half like they had in the first.

"We came out with a lot of intensity, the first half," he said. "Then the second half we just kind of died down. The first few offensive plays we didn't get nothing, so I feel like that affected our defense."

The Red Raiders were able to hang in there for a while against Oklahoma State and Baylor before getting upended in the end.

Gillispie following the squad's second straight loss on Saturday said he is not happy with the recent losses, and will do something about it.

"I'm not into playing close, I'm not into moral victories, I'm not into hanging around, I'm not into any of those terms that you want to throw out there," he said. "I don't like it, we got beat and I don't like it; period.

"I'm the head coach and I got to do something about it."


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