Texas Tech basketball: Unsung heroes from Red Raiders' win in Austin

Jan 6, 2024; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Chance McMillian (0) and forward
Jan 6, 2024; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Chance McMillian (0) and forward / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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A day later Texas Tech basketball fans are still basking in the glow of last night's 78-67 win over No. 20 Texas in Austin. That's partially because this winning at UT thing is still relatively new for the program. However, in recent years, it's become far more commonplace.

Of course, most Red Raider fans of a certain age remember that from 1997-2018 the Red Raiders went winless in Austin despite playing there annually. That means that even legendary former head coach Bob Knight never scored a win at the Erwin Center.

Now, though, the Red Raiders are making a habit of leaving the state capital victorious. Tech has won five of its last six games on the road at Texas including last night.

That's a span that now includes three different head coaches and dozens of players. It's become old hat to come out of Austin on top making it a shame that Tech will no longer play in its second home for the foreseeable future thanks to Texas' move to the S.E.C. this summer.

So let's keep the good times rolling by taking a look back at the Red Raiders' huge win last night by paying tribute to some of the unsung heroes. We start by throwing rose petals at the feet of a player whose explosive first half set the tone of the night.

Joe Toussaint's first half outburst set the ton for Texas Tech

In last night's game recap, we didn't focus on the work of Joe Toussaint because so much else transpired in this game. However, Tech doesn't prevail without the West Virginia transfer's huge first half.

A look at Toussaint's final stat line reveals a solid but not spectacular performance. He finished tied with Warren Washington for second on the team in points with 15 but he had only two in the second half.

However, his 13-point spurt in the first half helped the Red Raiders stem an early UT tide and help the Red Raiders get their feet under them. That's exactly why the super senior was brought to Lubbock.

When Toussaint hit his first bucket, Tech trailed 7-3 at 15:53 of the first half and to that point, the offense had been stuck in neutral. By the time he nailed his final shot of the half, his only 3-pointer of the game, Tech led 23-19 at the 7:40 mark.

During that time period, Tech scored nine baskets. Six came from Toussaint.

That included a spurt where he hit five of the six shots Tech would make in about a four-minute span. During that time, Tech erased an early UT lead that grew to as large as seven points and avoided falling into an insurmountable early hole as has happened so many times over the years in Austin.

Toussaint was also impactful on the glass with five rebounds to tie for the team lead on a night when Texas dominated that aspect of the game. What's more, his five assists were a team high.

To beat ranked teams in their own arena, you have to have a tough mindset and no Red Raider is tougher than Toussaint, a New York City native who has been through his share of Big 12 wars. His explosive first half helped the Red Raiders take control of the game at a time when Texas was dictating play and his contributions shouldn't be overlooked by any means.