After dropping its first game of the Battle 4 Atlantis to Villanova on Wednesday, the Texas Tech basketball team rebounded to have a positive week away from home going 2-1 overall in the event to finish in fifth place. The three games in three days stretch was punctuated on Friday by a dominant 73-57 victory over Michigan.
The Red Raiders never trailed in the game and led for essentially 39 of the 40 minutes played. Jumping out to a 35-21 halftime lead, Tech got off to a positive start for the first time in the event.
Devan Cambridge and Joe Toussaint led a balanced scoring effort for Tech. Putting up 17 points apiece, they were two of the four Red Raider starters in double figures as Pop Isaacs and Darrion Williams each contributed 13 points.
It was the most complete win of the year for Tech which was coming off of a 72-70 win on Thursday that saw the Red Raiders erase a 15-point deficit against Northern Iowa in the final 11:31 of action. So let’s go inside the stats for some quick takeaways from this thorough thumping of the Wolverines.
Toussaint is the heart and soul of this Texas Tech team
Last year, it was a one-year point guard transfer from Oklahoma, the undersized De’Vion Harmon, who proved to be the Texas Tech basketball team’s heart and soul. Now, undersized West Virginia transfer, Joe Toussaint, who also will spend only one season in Lubbock, is proving to be the driving force for the Red Raiders.
In the Bahamas, he averaged 17.6 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game. Of course, that was against the three best teams Tech has played thus far.
He has scored in double figures in every game this year and he’s proving to be much more than a rotational piece off the bench, which is what he was for the Mountaineers. Indeed, Toussaint is a tone-setter for the Red Raiders. The native of New York City is as tough as they come and his grit seems to rub off on his teammates.
Currently, he’s averaging career-highs in points, field-goal percentage, 3-pointers per game, and free throws per game. In other words, he’s understanding what this team needs from him (offense) and he’s supplying it in abundance.
Also, Toussaint is taking magnificent care of the basketball. In the Bahamas, he turned it over just four total times in 107 minutes played.
It appears that McCasland trusts his point guard as well. In fact, Toussaint might be his head coach’s security blanket.
In the three games at Atlantis, Toussaint played 89.1% of the possible minutes he could have played. In other words, he almost never came off of the court.
There might be more talented players on this roster and there might be players with a higher ceiling. However, it is hard to argue right now that Toussaint isn’t this team’s most important piece, especially given the way he played this week.