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Guarding key for Red Raiders at Arizona St.

Posted: December 20, 2013 - 11:43pm  |  Updated: December 21, 2013 - 1:21am
LSU's Shavon Coleman(5) looks to pass over Texas Tech's Jaye Crockett(30) to LSU's John Odo(31) during their game in Lubbock Wednesday. (Stephen Spillman / AJ Media)  Stephen Spillman
Stephen Spillman
LSU's Shavon Coleman(5) looks to pass over Texas Tech's Jaye Crockett(30) to LSU's John Odo(31) during their game in Lubbock Wednesday. (Stephen Spillman / AJ Media)
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Despite the two-point loss to LSU on Wednesday, Texas Tech men’s basketball proved it can compete with anybody, but as senior forward Jaye Crockett put it, “We’re tired of these moral victories.”

The Red Raiders have another chance to make a statement today on the road against Arizona State.

Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith is familiar with the ASU head coach Herb Sendek, whom he coached with from 1989-91 at Kentucky.

“(Sendek’s) very meticulous, very detail oriented and always has been,” Smith said. “He’s a smart coach. His teams are very well organized. He’s been able to coach many different styles. He’s more up tempo now and really running and pushing the ball versus when he was at Miami of Ohio or N.C. State. That’s what impresses me about Herb. He’s very cerebral as far as how to execute, coach and get things done with his players. I’ve been impressed that where he’s been and how he’s won.”

A major part of Arizona State’s success so far this season comes from sophomore point guard Jahii Carson, who’s averaging 19.9 points per game.

Tech junior point guard Rob Turner will have the task of defending him.

“We’ll let him know what he needs to do,” Crockett said. “He’s playing against a great point guard, so he just needs to come with his A-game.”

From the floor, Carson has made .516 percent of his shots and he leads the team from downtown, shooting .500 from behind the arc.

Two other Sun Devils, junior forward Jonathan Gilling and senior guard Jermaine Marshall, are hitting .449 and .444 percent from three.

So far this year, the Red Raiders have struggled defending the perimeter, allowing opponents to make .348 percent of their shots from deep.

In its past three games against LSU, Central Arkansas and Arizona, the Tech defense has given up nine, nine and 10 three pointers, respectively.

“We need to improve it, that’s for certain,” Smith said. “We need to improve especially after LSU just carved us up from outside shooting. Not only do they have Carson, but they have Marshall who is a talented outside shooter. … When you have a guy like Carson who can beat you off the dribble, because he can penetrate, draw somebody and pitch it to somebody open, that’s why they’re shooting extremely well from three.”

Most of the time, Arizona State runs a four out offense with 7-foot-2 senior center Jordan Bachynski down low.

Bachynski is shooting .659 percent from the floor and averaging a double-double with 12.9 points and 10 rebounds a game.

“This will put a premium on our post people, especially Dejan (Kravic) and Kader (Tapsoba) as far as guarding their inside people,” Smith said. “I’ve been impressed watching him on film and how he’s shooting over 65 percent from the floor. But, we’ll try to do what we can to keep the ball off him.”

If he catches the ball but his base is narrow, he is prone to missing shots or turning the ball over.

The Sun Devils utilize ball screens on the perimeter, as well as cutting or screening away after the ball is passed.

Arizona State is not a team that is stagnant outside.

“We practiced our zone, our two-three and our three-two,” Crockett said. “I think we’re going to run that; switch the defense up a little bit because they have some shooters one through four.”

When Bachynski isn’t on the floor, the Sun Devils tend to lean toward a five-out offense.

In the Arizona State post, senior forward Richie Edwards usually sets a ball screen at the elbow and then rolls out to the top of the key. From there, it’s straight passing and cutting until the defense breaks down and either a driving lane or a shot is wide open.

“We’ll play different types of lineups,” Smith said. “There are people that did something to try and exploit maybe their big man’s lack of mobility, but he’s pretty agile to be seven-foot-two. We’ll do what we have to do best. Aaron (Ross) is playing better. Sometimes we need to go with a smaller lineup, especially when we’re not getting the production that we need to get inside from, say, Jordan or somebody else.

“(Dejan’s) risen to the challenge. Took him out of the lineup and now Kader’s in the lineup so (Dejan’s) stepping up. You’ll see that also in Dusty (Hannahs). He needs to understand that he needs to play better defensively, and it’s going to be a real challenge for us to guard them on the perimeter.”

On the defensive end for Arizona State, Bachynski leads the country in total blocked shots with 50 and is No. 2 nationally in blocks per game with 4.55.

To put that in perspective, his total blocks are more than 277 teams.

Bachynski is blocking one of every 13.3 opponent shots.

Junior forward Jordan Tolbert said Tech would try to drag him outside and beat him off the dribble.

As far as scoring down low, Tolbert said the answer is simple.

“Just get the ball to me.”


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Side by side

Texas Tech Arizona State

73.2 Scoring 80.1

67.4 Opponent Scoring 64.3

.475 Field Goal Pct. .495

.321 3-Point Pct. .393

.730 Free Throw Pct. .670

33.7 Rebounds 38.8

12.1 Assists 16.7

11.8 Turnovers 10.5

6.7 Steals 5.2

4.5 Blocks 7.1

College basketball

Who: Texas Tech at Arizona State

When: 5:30 p.m. CT today

Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Arizona

Records: Tech 7-4; Arizona State 9-2

Last Meeting: Arizona State 77, Tech 62 on Dec. 22, 2012

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: 104.3 FM, 93.7 FM and 950 AM

Twitter: @AJ_KristaPirtle

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Compete with who

I can open the sports page and find 15+ teams that we can't compete with day in and day out. The usual A-J over reaction.

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