The Texas Tech basketball team eeked out a two-point win over Oklahoma on Tuesday so let’s go inside the box score to see how the Red Raiders took down the Sooners.
Those thrill-seekers who enjoy roller coasters, sky diving, and participating in extreme sports might come to love this year’s Texas Tech basketball team. That’s because, through two Big 12 games, this team has given us two heart-attack worthy games.
Fortunately, Tuesday’s game against Oklahoma ended with Red Raider fans feeling elated rather than dejected as was the case after Thursday’s one-point loss to Kansas. And afterward, Beard seemed more than pleased with the 69-67 victory.
"“I told the guys after the game that this might be one of my favorite wins of my coaching career,” Beard said. “I’ll tell you why. Just disappointed after that Kansas loss. Could of coached better. Could of played better. Guys could have stayed out of foul trouble. “You know, we did a lot of soul-searching the last couple of days. We put ourselves in a situation where we knew we really had to try to get this win.”"
But a first glance at the box score reads like a game that Tech would have lost. After all, the Sooners dominated play in a number of areas.
First of all, OU killed Tech on the boards. Holding a 36-29 edge on the glass, the home team pulled down 14 offensive rebounds and held a 7-2 edge in second-chance points.
In another critical aspect of the game, free throws, OU also had an advantage. Getting to the line 17 more times than Tech, OU had an eight-point cushion in that aspect of the contest.
Likewise, the Sooners had the edge from beyond the 3-point arc. Making 6-15 (40%) shots from deep, OU scored six more points from distance than Tech, which went just 4-14 (28.6%) from downtown.
But sometimes, you have to pull out games when the stat sheet suggests you should lose and that’s what Beard saw his team do in Norman.
"“I’m not going to take away from the positives of this game,” Beard said. “I’m not going to let the story be some missed blackouts late. We did a great job tonight, on the road, trying to stay out of a one-possession game…and I thought, for the last two-and-a-half, three minutes, we were living in that four-point, five-point cushion which eventually gave us a chance to win the game. “Again, unacceptable on the missed free-throw late. We gotta coach that better, gotta play that better. But to me, that’s not the story. The story tonight is winning a road game in the Big 12 without Kevin McCullar, without some of our guys playing their best game; a tough couple of days of practice, a lot of distractions around Christmas time. So really proud of our guys tonight. I thought they really responded.”"
Certainly, this is a game that Tech will look back on come Selection Sunday and be thankful that it went on the positive side of the resume. OU is a solid team that will be in the mix for an NCAA Tournament bid come March and wins over teams of that caliber are never to be taken for granted. Even if they come in such a manner that stops our hearts in the final seconds.
So let’s go inside the box score and see why the Red Raiders won this important early-season game. And we will start with an aspect of the game that has been Tech’s downfall far too often over the last two seasons.