Yeager Shots: Texas Tech 91, West TX A&M 74

Notes from senior writer Joe Yeager on Texas Tech's 91-74 exhibition win over West Texas A&M on Monday at United Spirit Arena.

  • Tubby Smith, aged 64, has this season coached against a 30-something (Stan Bonewitz), and a 40-something (Tom Brown), and Tubby has more hair on his head than both of them combined. Just thought I’d mention that.
  • West Texas A&M, located about 100 miles north of Texas Tech, had probably as many fans in attendance as Tech did. From that standpoint, this was more of a neutral-site game than a home game for the Red Raiders.
  • This game, a 91-74 win for the Red Raiders, obviously was more than a mere exhibition for the visiting Buffaloes. The little brothers from up the road clearly wanted to show that they could hang with the local Power 5 school, and they did for most of the game. And they did it with hot shooting from beyond the arc, solid all-around guard play, and a scrappy effort from their front-line players. West Texas A&M has a nice little team.
  • For those expecting Tech to win by 30 or 40 points, the relative closeness of the final score could be slightly concerning. And such folk may think the Red Raiders played poorly. But that is incorrect. Tech was actually very consistent in this contest. The Red Raiders never really exploded, but didn’t have any bad stretches either. They just calmly and steadily played their game and eventually that was enough to pull away from a team that was playing as well as it possibly could.
  • Just to reiterate a point I made following the win over Concordia, these Red Raiders will be streaky from outside. Against Concordia Tech couldn’t throw it in the ocean. But against the Buffaloes, Toddrick Gotcher canned all five of his 3-pointers and the team as a whole connected on 42 percent of their efforts from beyond the arc.
  • A key to the Red Raiders blowing this game open was exploiting their size advantage inside in the second half. At halftime Tech led 45-41, and Isaiah Manderson and Norense Odiase had combined for only six points. When the game was done, however, the two bigs had 17 points and 14 rebounds.
  • Toddrick Gotcher’s 23 points and five rebounds were obviously a big part of Tech’s performance, but Devaugntah Williams also had a quietly exceptional game. He finished with 14 points on five-of-nine shooting, four rebounds, four assists and a steal. This was a very good all-around game.
  • C.J. Williamson will obviously bring some good things to the table for Tech, but one area in need of immediate improvement is the form on his shooting. As is, his jump shot is as flat as the surrounding west Texas cotton fields.
  • Justin Gray played 10 minutes while wearing a knee brace, and was not a major factor. But just seeing him on the court is a very positive sign. Amazing that somebody can come back that quickly from knee surgery.
  • The area in which Jordan Jackson needs the most immediate improvement is his on-the-ball defense. As of right now, he doesn’t move his feet quickly enough to be a solid defender.

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