Texas Tech Basketball takes OU to Overtime but Falls 79-75


Tubby Smith attempted a revolutionary tactic today in Texas Tech’s basketball match-up against the OU Sooners. The strategy was to start the game as early as possible in the morning, let as few fans into the arena as he could, instruct his team to play at the pace of a geriatric home recreational squad and hope that OU fell asleep. The ingenious plan almost worked but Tech fell to the Sooners 79-75 in overtime.

After a first half so marred by turnovers, missed shots, and lethargic play on the part of both teams that it made many in attendance wonder if they had mistakenly shown up to the Lubbock ISD middle school city championship tournament, Tech was down only one point at 30-29.

Reserve OU guard Frank Booker, who is single-handedly trying to bring back two iconic hair trends of the early ’90’s at the same time, the high tight fade and the racing stripes on the temple, took up the slack of the awful day of OU’s best player, Buddy Hield. Booker had 17 points including a career-high 4 three-pointers to keep OU in the lead for most of the first half.

Hield had only two points in regulation but awoke in overtime hitting two crushing threes.

Unlike the previous matchup against these two foes in Norman, a 45-point laugher for the Sooners (the largest blowout in Big 12 history…Hey! Our football team also holds the record for the biggest loss in conference history. That’s synergy, folks. Synergy indeed.) the Red Raiders were in the game throughout.


Tech controlled the glass throughout most of the game with true freshman big men Isaiah Manderson (13 points, 6 rebounds) and Noriense Odiase (13 points, 3 rebounds) dominating the lane on the defensive end. Tech’s defensive rebounding was so strong that OU went 20 consecutive possessions without an offensive rebound to start the game. Thus it was fitting that a miraculous rebound sent the game into overtime.

Up three with fewer than 10 seconds to play, OU intentionally fouled Tech’s Toddrick Gotcher before Tech could attempt a three to tie the game. Gotcher missed the first free-throw meaning he would have to intentionally miss the second in the hopes that Tech could grab the offensive board, kick the ball to an open player, and hit a three to tie the game. That never works.

Except for today. The 6’10, Manderson slashed in for the board and kicked it right back to Gotcher who nailed a three with 3.6 seconds to play. The hundreds in attendance at the USA erupted, as it appeared another upset was brewing on the high plains.

Feb 21, 2015; Lubbock, TX, USA; A Texas Tech Red Raiders cheerleader entertains the crowd during the game with the Oklahoma Sooners at United Supermarkets Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, in overtime, Tech could not hit the big outside shots that OU did and OU was solid from the free throw line, which as you can guess, Tech was not. Tech’s inexperience (four of their five starters were true freshmen) and lack of playmakers was evident as the OT came to a close. Down three points with only 17 seconds to play, Tech ran a pick-and-roll with Keenan Evans and Manderson launched an awkward-looking three that was no good. After OU hit 1/2 free throws, Tech’s upset bid was over.

Like cinder blocks, moral victories are hollow but can be built upon. Tech took a nationally ranked foe to OT despite receiving no contribution from its leading scorer Devaugntah Williams, who did not start after failing to impress Coach Smith in practice.  The playing time given to freshmen suggests that Smith is confident in his talented young roster and the Texas Tech basketball team seems to be improving despite of, or perhaps because of taking their lumps in the toughest basketball conference in the nation.

Williams, who scored a career-high 22 points in both of Tech’s conference wins this year, scored no points in the game, attempting only one shot. Making a strong statement, Smith gave significantly more playing time to reserve guard Luke Adams, the diminutive fan favorite who wears cochlear implants, but rarely plays meaningful minutes. Adams scored two points and provided Tech some minutes of point guard play to spell Keenan Evans. At times his ball-handling resembled a kitten playing with a ball of yarn, but he held up to the OU pressure admirably.

In another statement to the team, guard Randy Onwasour who averages 5.3 points per game this season stepped onto the court as often as the popcorn vendor did. It was the first game this year in which the guard has not played.

Tech’s two starting guards led the team in scoring. Gotcher scored 18 and the freshman Evans netted 17 as four of the five Tech starters scored in double digits and the fifth starter, Zach Smith fell one point shy of the mark.

Nov 18, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Tubby Smith and guard Toddrick Gotcher (20) during the first half of a game against the LSU Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

OU was led in scoring by guard Isaiah Cousins’ 22 points. TaShawn Thomas was the only other Sooner starter in double figures with 15 but with Booker picking up the scoring load off the bench and Hield scoring six of his eight points in OT, Lon Kruger’s bunch remains in the hunt for a regular season Big 12 title.

Tech’s record now stands at 12-16 (2-13 in the conference) as they head to Ft. Worth on Wed. to take on TCU. Let’s not think about the last time a Tech men’s team took on the Frogs in Ft. Worth. Somewhere Gary Patterson is still grinning… and tying his shoes.