Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Texas Tech Recap - 2

Game Recap

I keep trying to come up with a better word to describe what happened in Reed Arena on Tuesday night, but nothing seems to be more fitting than just being disappointed.

For the 2nd time in big 12 play this season the Aggies got beat, and for the second time it came at the hands of Bob Knight's Red Raiders.

Texas Tech star Jarrius Jackson hit a shot as the buzzer sounded only moments after Acie Law hit yet another clutch three pointer that tied the game at 75 with six seconds remaining.

Jackson took the ball the length of the floor and hit what basically was an uncontested look from about 9 feet away.

Jackson's bucket brought about the final score of 75-77 and sent home a sold-out Reed Arena crowd stunned after seeing the Aggies lose at home for only the second time in 22 games.

I think most of the blame tonight can be laid on a handful of things.

1.) Dominique Kirk. When Kirk was in the game he did a pretty good job in limiting Jackson (who finished with a game high 31 points). The problem was that Kirk could not stay on the floor. The junior guard only played 26 minutes as he was in foul trouble for most of the entire game. Kirk fouled out in the second half and finished with 0 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist.

2.) Antanas Kavaliauskus. I still can not figure out how AK wound up with 18 points. AK played lost and confused most of the night. He turned the ball over 6 times (should have been 8 or 9 as he got away with two or three more terrible passes) and continuously got beat on the defensive end failing to provide sufficient rotation help as the Tech guards got to the rim with ease for nearly the entire second half. AK also fouled out in the second half.

3.) Free Throw shooting - The Aggies finished the game 17-of- 24 from the free throw line and missed the front end of two 1-and-1 opportunities in the first half. The Aggies missed 7 free throws on the night while the Raiders only missed 3. Giving away points at the free throw line is very frustrating.

4.) Josh Carter - Carter continued to be a no-show against the Red Raiders. In four career games against Tech, Carter is averaging only 6 points per game and is a combined 8-of-21 from the floor. This season Josh failed to score in their first match-up in Lubbock and scored only 5 points last night.

5.) Horrendous three point shooting - The Aggies only made 2 of 9 from deep last night. To make matters even worse, they basically put bookends on the game with their only two makes. Carter hit a three at the 14:29 mark of the first half and the Aggies did not hit another three until Acie's bucket to tie the game at 75 with 6 seconds left. Tech did a very good job of extending their defense on the perimeter and harassing the Aggies, but you need to be better than 2-for-9 if you want to win these games.

I guess adding to the disappointment is that another HUGE shot by Acie Law basically went all for naught.

Acie was super again on Tuesday night scoring 23 points on 8-of-14 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.

With the Aggies down three and less than 10 seconds on the clock, Acie got the ball off of a screen at the top of the key and let one fly that found the bottom of the net with only 6 seconds remaining.

It is too bad that we are instead talking about Jarrius Jackson being the hero for Tech and not another unbelievable bucket in a clutch situation from Acie.

Joe Jones was also efficient on the interior as he too scored 18 points, but his overall effectiveness and impact on the game was limited as he only saw 23 minutes of action.

While Joe was slightly better than AK on the defensive end, he too failed on many occasions to provide sufficient defensive help as the Tech guards made their way to the rim on numerous occasions in the 2nd half.

Gillispie commented on his team’s lack of defensive enthusiasm in saying, "We had guys trying to swipe at the ball instead of putting their bodies in the gap. If you do that, then you are going to get driven on."

I thought Donald Sloan played very well in his 19 minutes off the bench. Sloan finished with 8 points on 3-of-5 from the field. This included a perfectly executed backside ally-oop on a feed from Antanas Kavaliauskas.

Unfortunately for the good guys there was just too much Jarrius Jackson (31 points on 12-of-20 shooting) and Martin Zeno (19 points on 6-of-9 shooting). Jackson and Zeno put on a clinic in dribble-drive penetration as the Aggies failed to stop them all night long.OK – Let’s flip it around real quick and take a look at where the Aggies stand and what last night’s game means in the grand scheme of things.

Depending on what Kansas does tonight (they should win easily at Colorado) the Aggies will at worst be tied for the lead in the Big 12. Still a heck of a position to be in, but if you are going to make a run at the regular season title you will likely need a little bit of help.

That being said, the Aggies just need to go out over these last 5 games and take care of their business and let everything else take care of itself.

It all starts with your next two games on the road, at Oklahoma on Saturday (more below) and at Oklahoma State on Wednesday. Going to Norman and more so Stillwater is a tall order, and the Aggies will certainly be up against it.

The minute I say that, I will also tell you that any group of guys that can go into Allen Fieldhouse and beat Kansas can go into any building in the nation and come out with a win if they play their game.

Even if you go 3-2 over these last 5 games, you will still finish 12-4 in the Big 12 which will be a remarkable season and good enough to likely earn you the 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament.

The problem with going 3-2 over these last 5 is that it will mean you finished your last 6 games of the season with a 3-3 record which is not the direction you want to be heading going into postseason play.

OK - Sorry – I will stop getting ahead of myself. Let’s see what happens in Norman on Saturday afternoon and take it from there.

Quick Hits

- Most of your season long streaks ended last night.

- Tech shot 52% from the field, the first time in 36 games that the Aggies have allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50% against them. Last night ended the longest such streak in the nation.

- Tech was the first team to win at Reed Arena in the last 22 games.

- The Aggies were ahead by 7 points at the 12:33 mark when Red Raider coach Bob Knight got a technical foul for arguing with the officials. From that point forward, the Raiders outscored the Aggies 32-23.

- The Aggies are now 1-4 when ranked #6 in both polls. I guess 6 must be their unlucky number as all 4 of their losses this season have come when ranked #6.

- The Raiders hit 10 of their last 13 field goal attempts from the 11:29 mark to the end of the game. They also made 8 of their 10 free throw attempts over that same period.

- One stat I love to look at is “bucket-stop-bucket”, which is the number of times you score on back-to-back possessions and do not allow your opponent to score in-between. The Raiders went bucket-stop-bucket 8 times in the second half last night compared to the Aggies pulling it off 5 times. (Thanks Brandon!)

Looking Ahead

The Aggies travel to Norman on Saturday to take on Oklahoma at 2:30 on ABC.

The Sooners have very quietly compiled a 6-5 league mark but are coming off of a 58-51 loss against Iowa State in Ames last night.

In their first match-up, the Aggies were victorious by a score of 70-61 back on January 27th at Reed Arena.

Both teams will be looking to bounce back after disappointing losses last night and OU will certainly be looking for payback from their loss to the Aggies earlier in the season.

As was well documented around their first game this year, the Aggies have historically struggled against OU. The Aggies have only defeated the Sooners twice in 27 attempts.

The Sooners’ three most impressive league wins to this point were a 91-51 win over Baylor, a 75-61 win over Texas Tech and a 67-60 win over Oklahoma State. All three of those wins were at the Lloyd Noble Center.


At 2/14/2007 4:31 PM, Anonymous Malaise said...

Here are three things that have me worried after watching last night.

1) Kirk and Jones inability to stay out of foul trouble. Both pick up 1 or 2 fouls a game that makes you wonder about their basketball IQ. The team needs both of these guys on the floor but the reoccuring trend of both being absent when we need them is becoming troubling. I especially wonder why if Kirk gets beat off the dribble he insits on fouling the crap out of the guy (last night he got bailed out once on a charge call) - he needs to learn that maybe giving up 2 or relying on help side rotation is better than him sitting by Billy every night. Don't get me started on Joe's propensity to reach and swipe.

2) Our post player's off-ball defense. As mentioned by Batch, Joe, AK and Pompey played horrible off-ball defense. Repeatedly they were guarding some offensive stiff and gave little or no help on a motion cut or dribble drive off a pick to the guards. I can't tell you how many times I paused the game to watch Pompey aggressively denying his man the ball, despite the fact his man was not even facing the passer and Jackson or Zeno just cut or drove by unimpeded.

3. Billy's stubborness. I am trying not to jump to conclusions (wish I had a mat w/ conclusion on it that I could use) but our over aggressive man defense was getting us killed last night. Not only b/c of fouls but the inability to provide any help defense. Granted the effort wasn't there - but I kept wondering why we never went zone or at least played man w/ zone like principles for at least a few possessions. Plus why our 4 was guarding Zeno in the second half was beyond me - I can only say it is a reflection on how he believes Carter plays D.

At 2/15/2007 10:51 AM, Blogger Tommy said...

I was amazed with how dead it was it seemed in there last night, both players and fans. I expected everyone to be stoked for revenge. That was really odd.

I know we love to dump on Pompey, but how was he the only guy who realized that we still needed to defend on that last sequence? EVERYONE but the other four ags on the court knew that Jackson was the only guy who was going to take that shot!


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