Like in most of their games, at least in Big 12 Conference play, the Red Raiders were able to hang with the opponent for a while, before their inexperience and inability to score consistently turned into their achilles heel – which was the story against Iowa State on Saturday.
Texas Tech (7-11, 0-6 in Big 12 play) was not able to hang with Iowa State in its worst loss since the Kansas game falling 76-52 at home in the United Spirit Arena.
"It is pretty frustrating, seems like we get ourselves in these real good spots to win games and we just kind of fall a part," Tech senior Robert Lewandowski said about hanging in there and then losing big. "It's a mental thing, it's a physical thing, but we just got to stay smart and keep pushing and keep fighting, because it's right there."
The Cyclones (16-5, 4-2) entered the game coming off an exciting win at the buzzer against Oklahoma State and carried that momentum into Saturday's meeting with the Red Raiders.
Despite the momentum, Texas Tech hung right with them right at the start of the game.
The Red Raiders hung with the Cyclones holding an 11-10 lead with 11 minutes and 13 seconds left in the first half, but that slim lead disappeared rather quickly after that point.
Iowa State slowly chipped away and started to build a lead, but a 16-5 run in a span of 7:58 gave the Cyclones a 26-16 lead with 5:56 to go in the first half.
The Cyclones pulled away to take a 35-23 lead into halftime behind the hot hand of Tyrus McGee, who finished the game with 20 points going 7-for-12 from the field and 6-for-11 from three-point range, which was the best on the team in all categories.
With being down by 12 at the half, Gillispie said it is tough to battle back from trailing especially with an inexperienced team.
"We haven't responded well to adversity," he said. "We haven't done it in practice, and we don't do it in games. There's going to be parts of games aren't going to go well, because the teams we are playing are very good. You have to be resilient enough and tough enough in the mind to say ‘OK we got to dig in, hey we turned it over but we're going to get a stop', and that's exactly what we're not doing."
Tech never really got back into the game after that point as Iowa State started extending their lead coming out of the locker room as it went on a 13-8 run pulling their lead to 49-33 with 13:26 to go in the game.
Tech would score just 19 more points in the game while Iowa State went for 27 in the 76-52 victory, and Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg said his team had to put down the hammer in the second half and that's exactly what they did.
"I thought it was a very unselfish game that we played today," he said. "That ball was moving around, our guys were cutting hard, we were setting screens for each other. Then the second half we got off to a great start, came out hit some shots, continued to get stops, continued to control the boards and that was very important for us in the second half."
With the loss the Red Raiders have a couple of days to think about it before returning to the court on Wednesday to face another Nationally ranked opponent in Kansas State.
To try and get things turned in the right direction the changes have to start in practice, Lewandowski, who finished with 20 points, said, and they just have to focus to get that first elusive conference win.
"Well it all starts in practice," he said. "Like we play in practice, we play in games and that's very true. We need to change our habits in practice and it's a start there. That's where it starts and that's where it pretty much finishes too, so we'll see what happens in the next couple days, see if we can change things."