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Texas Tech hoping to recapture magic, pull second upset of Iowa State

Posted: February 22, 2013 - 6:44pm  |  Updated: February 23, 2013 - 1:31am
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Oklahoma's Amath M'Baye shoots against Texas Tech's Jordan Tolbert and Jaye Crockett during their game on Wednesday in Lubbock. (Zach Long)  Zach Long
Zach Long
Oklahoma's Amath M'Baye shoots against Texas Tech's Jordan Tolbert and Jaye Crockett during their game on Wednesday in Lubbock. (Zach Long)
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DES MOINES, Iowa — Fred Hoiberg said it feels like it has been two years since his Iowa State team played what he labeled as its worst offensive game of the season during a 56-51 loss to Texas Tech on Jan. 23 in Lubbock.

Based on the directions the two programs have headed since then, it’s easy to understand why.

During that first meeting, Tech (9-15, 2-11 in Big 12) held the Cyclones (18-8, 8-5) to their lowest point total of the season, and it still stands as the lowest mark the Red Raiders have surrendered this year.

Since that victory, though, Tech has dropped seven straight games, including its last three road contests. The Cyclones have gone 4-4 since the loss to the Red Raiders, but they have won back-to-back games to stay just two back of Big 12 leaders Kansas and Kansas State.

Tech knows reversing course and recapturing the magic of last month’s upset will certainly be a far great challenge when the teams meet again at 12:30 p.m. Saturday inside Hilton Coliseum, where the Cyclones own a 21-game winning streak.

“They probably have some vengeance they want to get out since we beat them last game,” said Tech forward Jaye Crockett, who is averaging 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds the last two games. “They’re going to come in and play hard.”

In the first meeting between these teams, Tech’s execution of its game plan to switch on perimeter ball screens to stymie Iowa State’s dribble penetration, combined with poor outside shooting from the Cyclones (6 of 23 from 3-point range), created a perfect storm for the Red Raiders.

Tech also had perhaps its most complete effort on the glass, limiting Iowa State to only three offensive rebounds.

“We just really held them off the boards,” Crockett said, “and that really helped us.”

Hoiberg wouldn’t go so far as to say the loss was a blessing in disguise, but he said it did force the team to take stock of themselves offensively, an introspection he believes has paid dividends.

“We learned from it,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve had much better spacing and ball movement since that game, creating a lot of opportunities for some open shots and also some post-up opportunities. That’s what good teams do. You learn from mistakes. You move past it and make yourself better, and I think we are a better team now than we were at that point in the season.”

The Red Raiders nearly erased any Iowa State transition opportunities in the January game, something they haven’t been able to do consistently while giving up almost 77 points per game during their current losing streak.

Offensively, Tech has begun to make steady progress and is coming off its highest-scoring conference output of the season (71 points) in Wednesday’s loss to Oklahoma. Crockett’s resurgence has played a role in that improvement. Against the Sooners he hit three 3-pointers, making him 17 of 52 (32.7 percent) from beyond the arc this season. Last season he attempted only 14 3-point shots and made four.

“I’ve been in the gym a lot,” Crockett said. “I try to shoot 250 threes and 250 mid-range (jump shots), try to get in 500 shots per day. Coach (Chris Walker) told me at the beginning of the season, ‘Just work on that pick and pop.’ So that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The shot was open for Crockett a number of times on Wednesday, as point guard Josh Gray would often attract an extra defender after coming off a ball screen, then toss it back to the junior forward for an opener jumper at the top of the key.

Crockett wasn’t the only one to get into that act, as Clark Lammert also knocked down a pair of threes off Gray feeds. Lammert, a sophomore walk-on, has given the Red Raiders solid minutes of late, scoring six points in three of the last four games.

“He’s just mentally tough,” Crockett said, “and it’s great to have someone like that.”


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College basketball

Who: Texas Tech vs. Iowa State

When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa

Records: Tech 9-15, 2-11 in Big 12; Iowa State 18-8, 8-5

Last time out: Oklahoma 86, Tech 71; Iowa State 87, Baylor 82

Last meeting: Tech 56, Iowa State 51 on Jan. 23 in Lubbock

TV: Big 12 Network: (Lubbock KMYL-14; Suddenlink 6/HD106; AT&T U-Verse 14/HD1014, Dish Network 14)

Radio: KTTU 104.3

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The Auditioning Coach

I want to like Walker. He's got an excellent pedigree.

But he's starting to blast away at his players in the highest tradition of Knight/Knight.

If he'll just cool down, I'll get back in his corner for a 3-year try.


game over

The games starts at 12:30 pm; it should be over by 1:00 pm or shortly thereafter.


not even.

Wasn't even close.

The Chris Walker experiment will have begun and ended with this season.

He is not the guy.

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