In the second game of the season, the Texas Tech basketball team played a rare Sunday afternoon matinee against San Jose State. Given the way the Red Raiders performed for the first 35 minutes of that game, here’s betting that won’t become a regular occurrence.
Though they would prevail 56-42 to move to 2-0 on the season, the Red Raiders were sluggish, sloppy, and out of sorts for most of the afternoon. Fortunately, they were able to dodge a bullet from the team picked to finish only 7th in the Mountain West Conference this season.
Trailing by a score for much of the second half, it was a late 18-2 run in the final seven minutes that propelled Tech to the win. Prior to that, the home team was down 40-38 but thankfully, Grant McCasland’s squad would wake up in time to put the Spartans away for good.
Here are some quick thoughts on what was a less-than-inspiring performance.
Texas Tech continues to struggle from 3-point range
Any time a team doesn’t make its first 3-pointer of the game until there is 7:33 left to play, that’s a concern. That was the case for the Red Raiders on Sunday as they went the first 32:27 of the game without hitting a shot from beyond the arc.
It was a truly dreadful day from deep for Tech. That’s the second time in as many regular-season games that outside shooting has been a problem.
Overall, McCasland saw his team make just 3 of 16 shots from beyond the arc. That came one game after Tech opened the season by making just 5-23 of its 3-point attempts against Texas A&M-Commerce on Wednesday night.
Most puzzling so far has been the struggles of Pop Isaacs. A 37.8% shooter from downtown last year, he’s now only 3-11 (27.2%) early this season.
Only 1-4 from deep on Sunday, Isaacs was kept under wraps for most of the afternoon. He did heat up late thanks to some free throws but he finished with only 8 points on 1-7 shooting.
It was a 3-pointer from West Virginia transfer Joe Toussaint that finally broke the seal for Tech. Only a 29.9% shooter from beyond the arc in his career, the senior confidently stepped into an open look from deep and drilled it to give Tech a 38-37 lead.
Where has the team that made 14 shots from long distance against the Texas A&M Aggies in an exhibition game gone? Perhaps this is just a two-game blip on the radar and the Red Raiders will find their stride from outside as they settle into the season.
However, thus far in 2023-24, that’s been an area of struggle, which is surprising given how well Tech shot against the Aggies. Hopefully, McCasland and his coaching staff find a way to get this team back in rhythm in this critical aspect of the game because Tech won’t win many games shooting the way it has from outside thus far.