Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders’ nightmare season continues in Stillwater
It seems that every time out, the Texas Tech basketball team finds a new way to lose. That was the case again on Wednesday night in Stillwater as a late Oklahoma State offensive rebound and putback with under a second to play sealed the Red Raiders’ fate in a 71-68 loss.
Now at .500 on the season at 12-12, Mark Adams’ team is just 1-10 in conference play and unfortunately, the end of the season can’t come fast enough for most fans. So, even though it may be a painful exercise, let’s take a look at how another winnable game slipped through Tech’s hands.
Why did Washington play so much?
In almost every loss this year, there’s been at least one reason to question a strategic decision from Adams. On Wednesday, that was certainly the case as there was no way to comprehend why he allowed freshman Lamar Washington to play 20 minutes. That’s because Washington was a disaster waiting to happen every time he touched the ball.
The Portland, Oregon native has had some brief flashes of effective play this year but for the most part, he’s been a liability given his inability to shoot the ball or create any offense for his teammates. However, he has often provided solid defense and stable ball handling leading to his insertion into the starting lineup during the absence of Pop Isaacs.
Against the Cowboys though, he was the worst Red Raider on the court. He would go 0-3 from the floor and even worse, he would commit a game-high six turnovers.
Five of those turnovers came in the first half leading directly to seven OSU points. It is hard to understand why he was allowed to constantly make inexcusable turnovers and remain in the game. Sure, the other options such as Elijah Fisher or D’Maurian Williams aren’t game changers but they also weren’t giving the ball away with the charity of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve either.
In the end, Washington’s rear end should have been nailed to the bench long before he finally saw his night come to a close in the second half. Outside of Washington, the two teams were even in the turnover department at 10 each. But Adams continued to roll with the struggling freshman for far too long and that decision proved to be costly in a game that was decided in the final second.
Another opposing guard goes wild
Game after game, you can count on an opposing guard to go wild against the Red Raiders. Wednesday, it was OSU junior Bryce Thompson who scored all 21 of his points in the first half to more than double his season scoring average. While he would wind up going scoreless in the second half, his performance was enough to help carry his team to a tight win.
So far, in 11 Big 12 games, Tech has allowed Thompson, Iowa State’s Caleb Grill, West Virginia’s Joe Toussaint, K-State’s Markquis Nowell, Baylor’s Keyonte George, Texas’ Marcus Carr, Iowa State’s Gabe Kalscheur, and TCU’s Mike Miles Jr. to score at least 20 points. That’s seven times in Big 12 play that an opposing guard has torched the Red Raiders.
Given the illness he sustained just days prior to the start of Big 12 play (one that caused him to lose 15 pounds in a few short days) and the ankle and finger injuries he’s also sustained this season, some might be willing to give Daniel Batcho a pass for his inability to help his team win. However, if he’s going to suit up, he’s got to give the Red Raiders more than he has in Big 12 play.
Wednesday, he managed only three points and two rebounds in 23 minutes of action. That’s not good enough for the team’s only healthy player over 6-foot-8.
Batcho has yet to reach double digits in points or rebounds in any Big 12 game. What’s more, in six conference games, he’s scored three points or fewer. Unfortunately, on Wednesday, he was only 1-3 from the floor for three points and one of his two misses was a crucial late-game blown layup that would have been huge for his team had he been able to convert on the transition opportunity.
Again, some of his struggles can be attributed to the awful string of bad health that he’s had to endure this year. Therefore, his willingness to answer the bell in all but two Big 12 games is admirable. However, if this team is going to figure out a way to actually win games rather than just play them close, he’s going to have to be more of an impact player than he has been.
Offensive rebounds are again an issue
Of course, this game will be remembered for the last-second offensive rebound that broke a 68-68 tie and sent the Cowboys on to victory. In a way, it was the perfect way for this game to end because Tech again was drubbed on the glass by the tune of 14 offensive boards for the Pokes.
In a game that was decided by just three points, OSU’s 12-8 edge in second-chance points would prove to be the difference. That’s the unfortunate consequence of Tech having to rely so heavily on a lineup that features four guards and 6-foot-8 Kevin Obanor, a combination the team has had to turn to because of Batcho’s ineffectiveness and the injury that is keeping Fardaws Aimaq out of action.
Eight times in Big 12 play, Tech has given up 10 or more offensive rebounds in a game. That was again a problem on Wednesday it ended up leading directly to another loss.