Texas Tech does the little things in victory
Maybe the most surprising aspect of this game was that Tech won by double digits despite being out-rebounded 38-27. In fact, Texas had 15 offensive boards on the night.
So how did the Red Raiders overcome that disadvantage? They got to the free-throw line and they took care of the basketball.
At the line, Tech was 15-21 (71.4%). Meanwhile, UT was only 9-14 (64.3%). Anytime you make more free throws on the road than your opponent takes, that's a huge step toward victory.
There were two key moments at the line when this game started to tilt Tech's way for good. With 7:01 to play, 55.2% free-throw shooter Warren Washington stepped to the line and sank two shots to extend Tech's lead to 66-57. Whenever the 7-footer hits two foul shots in one trip, that's a huge bonus for McCasland's team.
On the other end of the floor, with Tech up only 69-63, 76.3% free-throw shooting Tyrese Hunter missed two at the line to help Tech hold on to its multi-score lead with only 3:13 to play. Had the UT guard made those two attempts, the crowd in Austin would have come to life and anything could have happened but those misses seemed to take a ton of juice out of the Longhorn faithful.
Texas Tech is the top free-throw shooting team in the Big 12 and that was a huge factor on Saturday night. So too was the fact that Tech turned the ball over only nine times while Texas gave it away 14 times.
In fact, at halftime, the Red Raiders had only two turnovers. What's more, after a Washington turnover at the 12:25 mark of the second half, Tech would give the ball away only one more time. Meanwhile, in that span, Texas would lose the ball four times with the most notable being a steal by Williams that led to a Chance McMillan fast-break dunk to push Tech's advantage to 73-63 with 2:24 to play.
To win on the road, you have to make free throws and protect the ball. That's exactly what Tech did in Austin and it helped the Red Raiders overcome a tough night on the glass.