- In spite of what may look like an underwhelming margin of victory over a comparatively weak opponent, Tubby Smith was pretty happy with his team’s 71-56 win. Naturally, he was most pleased with the defense. The Red Raiders held Sam Houston to 27-percent shooting and seven assists. No single Bearkat scored in double figures, and for the most part, Tech’s guards were not beaten off of the dribble, which had been a point of concern. And it was the defense that won Tech the game because the other phases of play were not too swift.
- Tech’s offense never really clicked in this one. In the first half the Red Raiders were sloppy on offense, missing easy shots around the basket and committing too many unforced turnovers. In the second half Tech just never got in synch. The guards weren’t getting to the basket and there was too much settling for deep jumpers (the Red Raiders shot nine percent from deep in the second half). Put that together and you have an offensive output of 71 points when the Red Raiders probably should have hit for around 90.
- The one significant bright spot on offense was Norense Odiase’s play. For the second game in a row he set up shop down low and would not be denied. He used his bulk and strength to establish good position, and then excellent footwork to convert a nice array of nifty, soft shots at the hoop. Odiase is slowly and steadily improving as a player.
Zach Smith blocked three shots Wednesday night.
- Devaugntah Williams looked early on like he was going to explode for a huge offensive game. It was clear that he had a major athletic advantage over the SHSU guards and he exploited that advantage well to begin with. But things don’t always pan out. Williams, perhaps overexcited by his advantage, began playing out of control somewhat late in the first half and never managed to produce what could have been a special game for him. Not that he had a bad night, of course. Williams hit half of his shots en route to 15 points, grabbed three rebounds, handed out three assists and had only one turnover. But after the first five minutes I would have predicted he’d double that stat line.
- One area of concern from this game is comparative offensive rebounding. Despite a substantial size and athleticism advantage inside, the Red Raiders allowed Sam Houston 16 offensive rebounds while grabbing only nine of their own. Something to work on for the Tennessee-Martin game next week.
- Tubby Smith stated that a decision will be made within the next couple of weeks on whether or not to redshirt Rokas Ulvydas. The coach stated that Ulvydas is improving rapidly, and that he works as hard as anybody on the team, but that he needs to gain physical strength. The guess is that Smith would prefer to redshirt Ulvydas, but the departure of Isaiah Manderson and the uncertainty over how much Matt Temple will help makes it a tough call.