Losses have been something of a rare occurrence for Texas Tech in the last three seasons as it has carved out a spot as an up-and-coming program.
Losses at home have been even rarer.
So, it was no wonder that there was some frustration after an overtime loss Saturday to visiting Oklahoma State that left the 13th-ranked Red Raiders (8-3) at 1-2 in the Big 12 Conference.
It sets up a key game early in the league slate on Tuesday when wobbling Kansas State (5-6, 1-2) goes to Lubbock.
Texas Tech came out discombobulated against Oklahoma State and fell behind by 12 points in the early stages before trailing 37-28 at halftime. After scratching back to grab the lead, in a game with seven lead changes in the final five minutes of regulation, the Red Raiders couldn’t get a defensive stop when they needed one. A late offensive possession when they had a chance to win unraveled and ended with a turnover.
“The message to the team was, in the first half we got kicked because Oklahoma State was the tougher, more aggressive team,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “Now you’re playing from behind against a Big 12 team.
“Second half, I would argue, we were as tough and maybe a little more aggressive than them. Then the last couple minutes of the game, victory is going to favor the more intelligent team. The team that makes the fewest mistakes, the team that does what they’re trying to do.”
Added Red Raider big man Marcus Santos-Silva, “Three of the four possessions that Oklahoma State had at the end, we fouled them and got them to the (free-throw) line. We’ve just got to work on our mental mistakes. We can’t do that at the end of the game. We had the game in our hands.”
K-State wasn’t in quite as ideal a spot late in its game with TCU on Saturday, but the Wildcats had a shot to nab a victory in a season when not a lot has gone right.
A turnover with under 40 seconds to go on a lob pass from Mike McGuirl to David Bradford allowed the Horned Frogs to escape with a 67-60 win.
The missed chance ended K-State’s bid to finish a comeback from an 18-point first-half deficit.
“We didn’t do enough to win the game,” Wildcat guard DaJuan Gordon said. “If we would have done more in the second half — if we would’ve been more tough in the second half — we would’ve got them.”
Now, K-State has to come up with a method to compete against a Red Raiders crew that figures to fueled by desperation, and it’s not a great matchup for the Wildcats.
Although Oklahoma State had more offensive success than Texas Tech’s two previous Big 12 foes, the Red Raiders still stand as one of the best defensive teams in the country. They rank first in the league in scoring defense (56.3 points allowed per game) and field goal defense (37.4 percent).
By contrast, the Wildcats are the Big 12’s worst offensive team, averaging a league-low 65.9 points and they also rank last in shooting from 3-point territory (31.2 percent) despite hoisting more attempts from outside the arc than any other Big 12 team.
McGuirl’s 12.5 points a game lead K-State, but he is the only Wildcat in the league’s top 20 in scoring. Gordon has upped his game in three Big 12 games with 13.7 points and 7.3 rebounds a contest.
Mac McClung and Terrence Shannon continue to pace Texas Tech with 15.0 and 13.0 points a game, respectively. McClung delivered one of his best games of the season in the loss on Saturday with 21 points but missed three throws in the second half — part of a 25-of-35 team performance from the stripe.
–Field Level Media