- The thing that stood out most about Tech’s 77-73 win over a tough little High Point team was clutch play. The Red Raiders were not always pretty, and they sure weren’t perfect, but when Tubby Smith had to have it, his guys went out and got it. Devaugntah Williams was the most obvious example of this. He hit big shots again and again, and none were bigger than his answering trifecta with 2:34 to play that knotted the score at 68. But if there was one that was bigger, it was off of his steal on High Point’s next possession that Williams converted with a flush to give Tech a lead it would never again surrender.
- But it wasn’t just the Devaugntah Williams show. Devon Thomas hit a critical teardrop in the lane when the shot clock was set to expire, and Justin Gray and Aaron Ross hit crucial free throws in the waning moments to preserve the victory.
- It’s obviously very early in the season, but perhaps this team has a little grit and chemistry borne of tough wars in the Big 12 in years past.
- Tech’s offense was definitely at its best when the guards were aggressively attacking the defense and driving to the hoop. Indeed, the Red Raiders built an 11-point lead with 7:20 to play doing just that. However, just when it looked like Tech was about to slam the door, the Red Raiders began settling for jump shots, few of which fell for a period of over four minutes. This allowed High Point to not only get back into the game, but to retake the lead.
- It was a tough night for Tech’s bigs. Zach Smith, Norense Odiase, and Isaiah Manderson combined for a mere 12 points, seven rebounds and one blocked shot. Foul trouble for Smith and Odiase was part of the problem. So was playing against John Brown, a 6-foot-8 jumping jack with NBA athleticism. Then too, as this game progressed, it became more and more of a track meet, which doesn’t suit Odiase and Manderson. The latter was so gassed at one point he couldn’t even make it to half court on one of Tech’s possessions.
- It was a pretty dismal shooting night for Toddrick Gotcher. He played 29 minutes and scored seven points, all of them from the charity stripe. But he also went 0-for-6 from the floor. With Gotcher, it seems his first couple of shots will tell the tale. If he hits them he could easily go off for 20-plus points. But if he misses them, he will probably just go off the rails.
- The 13/17 assist/turnover ratio will not get it done. Tech has to value the basketball better than that because they do not yet have the firepower to overcome frittered away possessions.
USA TODAY Sports
Texas Tech Victorious in Season Opener
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