Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders blow big halftime lead, fall to TCU

Dec 31, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard De'Vion Harmon (23) shoots past TCU Horned Frogs forward Emanuel Miller (2) during the second half at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard De'Vion Harmon (23) shoots past TCU Horned Frogs forward Emanuel Miller (2) during the second half at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

It was a frustrating start to Big 12 play for the Texas Tech basketball team as the Red Raiders blew an 11-point halftime lead en route to a 67-61 loss to TCU in Fort Worth.  Here are some quick reactions to what we saw on Saturday.

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers

This game simply came down to the fact that the Red Raiders were sloppy with the basketball.  Finishing the day with 23 giveaways, Tech lost the ball 14 times in the second half when the Horned Frogs made their comeback.

That’s been a concern all season but in recent games, the Red Raiders had been better in that department.  Of course, in those games, they were also playing teams that were glorified high school squads, not a top-25 team.

The long and active TCU defense was a different monster for Tech to deal with and the no-look and risky passes that this team has been able to execute against bad teams proved to be live-ball giveaways in this game.  There’s no question that Tech is going to hear plenty about taking care of the ball from Mark Adams and the coaching staff before Tuesday’s home tilt with Kansas.  Hopefully, that’s a lesson that was learned on Saturday.


Even with all the turnovers, if Tech would have shot free throws at around its season average (72.3%), this game would have had a different outcome.  But instead, Mark Adams’ team was just 9-18 (50%) from the line.

It was so bad in that regard that Tech even went 0-4 when shooting free throws after a pair of technical fouls assessed against the home team.  That simply can’t happen.  Sometimes, a team can survive a high turnover game or a poor free-throw shooting game.  However, pulling off a win in a game where both of those areas are problematic is nearly impossible.

Batcho slowed by illness

Perhaps the best one-on-one matchup in this game was supposed to be Daniel Batcho against TCU’s big man, Eddie Lampkin Jr.  Unfortunately, that was a matchup that Tech lost in large part because Batcho was far from 100% due to an illness.

Though he grabbed nine boards and blocked five shots, Batcho scored only two points on the day.  Tech isn’t going to survive many games like that from the team’s third-leading scorer.

TCU’s best player took over, Tech’s best player was a non-factor

So often, these tight Big 12 games come down to star players taking over and that’s what TCU’s best player, Big 12 preseason Player of the Year, Mike Miles, did.  Scoring 23 points, he was the catalyst behind his team’s second-half charge.

Meanwhile, Tech’s best player, Kevin Obanor, was largely absent.  Missing most of the first half due to foul trouble, the Red Raiders’ leading scorer managed only six points and four rebounds on 2-7 shooting.

What’s more, Obanor was 0-3 from the 3-point line and he turned the ball over five times.  Coming into the day, Obanor had been on a tear averaging over 20 points per game in his last five outings.  However, he struggled mightily in the Big 12 opener and when that fact was combined with Batcho’s quiet day, it was too much for Tech to overcome.

Harmon has to be more efficient

It wouldn’t be fair to say that Tech point guard De’Vion Harmon was bad in this game.  He was a huge reason that the Red Raiders were able to build their 11-point halftime lead and he ended the day with 13 points, seven rebounds, five steals, and two assists.

However, on a day when Tech’s offense was stuck in neutral for the final 20 minutes of the game, Harmon needed to be more efficient.  Shooting on 4-14 from the floor, he was incredibly inefficient and there were a handful of times when he missed layups or shots in the lane.

Also, as the game slipped away, Harmon, Tech’s second-most experienced player, was nowhere to be found.  Tech brought him in from Oregon to be a calming influence and to be a player his teammates can turn to when situations get hairy.  He wasn’t able to do that on Saturday and that was a major factor in the Red Raiders’ loss.

Bench goes quiet in the second half

Just like the rest of the team, Tech’s reserves wilted in the second half after putting up a strong showing in the first.  In fact, after supplying 12 points in the first 20 minutes, Tech’s reserves contributed only 3 after halftime.

K.J. Allen was big in the first half with all nine of his points.  However, in the second half, he was missing in action.  Tech could have used some key minutes from him given Batcho’s illness but after the break, he could not elevate his game to match the increase in intensity that TCU brought to the court.  Fardaws Aimaq may not be a savior given his foot injury but his return can’t come soon enough because, without him, it is going to be tough for this team to survive given how limited its bench is right now.

Pop shines

We will close with a positive from this game, Pop Isaacs.  The true freshman was tremendous in his first Big 12 game with 17 points to lead his team.

Playing a team-high 34 minutes, he was one of only two Red Raiders in double figures and he tried his best to keep his team in the game late with his outside shooting. On a day when Tech made only 8 three-pointers, 5 came via Isaacs who is clearly this team’s best outside option.

Now, he did have four turnovers, and that’s something he must correct.  However, he was by far the best Red Raider on the court on Saturday and that’s a great sign for the future of the program.  What’s more, if he can keep up this level of play and the veterans on this team elevate their play to match him, Tech will be able to make some noise.