Yeager Shots: TCU

Joe Yeager shares his thoughts from the Red Raiders first conference win of the season.

Fab in Fort Worth: Well, nobody expected this. Chris Walker's Red Raider basketball team had not played a single road game in their first 11 outings. What's more, Tech had looked decidedly underwhelming in those home tilts. There was, therefore, little reason to believe this team would come alive and beat a Big 12 foe on their home floor.

 

Now granted, TCU hadn't looked much better than Tech, but you still didn't think a Red Raider program that had been flatlining for years and had lost three straight to the Frogs, would be up to the task today. They certainly were, though.

 

This road victory is the biggest win in program history for quite some time. A team badly needing a dose of confidence gets a healthy infusion of that vital substance with the win in Fort Worth. The remainder of Tech's season just got a bit more interesting.

 

Monkey off the Back: The 2011-12 Red Raiders didn't collect their first Big 12 win until February 11, the twelfth game of the conference slate. The 2012-3 version accomplished the same on January 5 in the league opener. Any and all league wins from here on out will constitute geometric improvement.

 

Big and Ugly: This was a very big win for Tech, but it was almost as ugly as it was huge. The Red Raiders were beaten on the glass by four and allowed a smaller TCU squad to grab 12 offensive rebounds. Tech turned the ball over 16 times (starting point guard Josh Gray committed six) and notched only seven steals. The harum scarum Red Raider run n' gun never got untracked at all.

 

Instead, Tech won this game the old fashioned way. The team played excellent defense, holding the Frogs to 35 percent shooting, and dished out 14 big assists. Several of those assists led to three point bombs—the Red Raiders connected on six of 10 attempts from beyond the arc.

 

It bodes well for Chris Walker's squad that they were able to alter their style and win while playing TCU's game.

 

Unexpected Contributions: All season long the Red Raiders have been bedeviled by shaky floor play from their point guards. Josh Gray continued that trend with his six turnovers and only two assists. Riding to the rescue, however, were Trency Jackson and Daylen Robinson who combined for nine dishes and only two turnovers. If just one of these players can rise to the occasion each night, Tech can actually field an effective half-court offense.

 

Perimeter Defense: The Red Raiders severely disrupted an already anemic TCU offense by periodically doubling guards at the top of the key. And Tech's defenders also did a great job of rotating back after breaking off the double teams. The Frogs were never able to exploit the Red Raiders with back cuts to the hoop.

 

The Black Hole: TCU blocked seven Tech shots and at least four of them were against Jordan Tolbert. The problem with Tolbert is that when the ball goes in to him, it never comes back out. You know he is going to the rack. It is the easiest thing, therefore, for a helpside defender to slide over and swat a Tolbert layup attempt. The best thing Tolbert can do to improve his own game is learn to pass the ball from the interior. Doing this will limit double teams and make him a more effective scorer in the paint.


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