Red Raiders Dominating Second Halves

Texas Tech has proven to be a second-half team over the recent handful of games. Can the Red Raiders keep it going? Also, how much has sophomore guard Randy Onwuasor, pictured above, improved in his second season under Tubby Smith and the rest of the coaching staff?

Since a second half swoon cost Texas Tech a huge road win over LSU, the Red Raiders (7-1) have won six straight second halves, but have particularly dominated those periods in the last four games. In wins over Prairie View A&M, Fresno State, Auburn and Air Force, Tech outscored their opponents in second halves by an average of 39 to 25. What’s more, they held their opponents to an average shooting percentage of 38 percent in those periods.

There appear to be two keys to this emerging trend. First, Tubby Smith and his staff have done an excellent job of making defensive adjustments at halftime. The Red Raiders typically bring out the zone and trapping pressure in second halves, and the opponents have been unable to counter the adjustments effectively.

And second, Tech’s depth simply wears out the opposition. The Red Raiders don’t have a talent/experience quotient in their starting five to blow out many teams immediately, but their bench talent/experience simply overwhelms foes in the second half. And Tech has received an unexpectedly early boost in that area with Aaron Ross’s quick return from knee surgery. Now Tubby Smith fields a team that is 12 deep with legitimate D-1 players.

Is Tech Missing Out?
In the last recruiting period Shane Henry and A.D. Gueye were Tech targets who wound up at Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech respectively. Also, Tubby Smith and staff were allegedly interested in JUCO wing-man Ja’Mill Powell, who ultimately signed with Eastern Kentucky. And, of course, Josh Gray transferred to the JUCO ranks before pledging to LSU, soon after Smith assumed the reins of the Tech program. Smith signed Robert Turner to fill the void created by Gray’s departure.

So how are these once and possible Red Raiders doing?

Henry averages two points, three rebounds and one block per game for the 5-4 Hokies, and plays 10 minutes per contest. Gueye has played in four of Georgia Tech’s seven games and has not made an appreciable mark on the stat sheet. He has averaged four minutes played in those appearances. Powell, whose videotape impressed me, has done well for the 5-3 Colonels. He starts, averages 12 points, two rebounds and a steal per game, and shoots 38 percent from beyond the arc. Gray puts up solid numbers for the 7-2 Tigers. He averages 11 points and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point country.

Randy-O Improving?
Opinion seems to be mixed regarding whether or not Randy Onwuasor has thus far improved over his freshman season. Here is what the stats say. His minutes have increased from 13 to 23 per game. His shooting percentage has decreased from 36 percent to 31. His 3-point shooting percentage has jumped from 15 to 18 percent. His free throw shooting percentage has crept up from 64 to 66 percent.

Onwuasor averages four rebounds per game compared to one per game last season. His assist/turnover percentage is 2/3 whereas it was 10/11 last year. Onwuosor averages 1.4 steals per contest; he had 19 steals in 32 games a year ago. And finally, his scoring average has more than doubled from three points per game to seven.

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