Texas Tech men’s basketball is ready to get that sour taste out of its mouth after the 22-point loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday.
“We’re really upset about how that game went,” sophomore guard Dusty Hannahs said. “We’re ready to bounce back against another great K-State team. That’s the thing with the Big 12; you never have an easy game. We’re going to try and bounce back with this one and then look ahead and try and get three more wins after this one.”
After the Oklahoma State game, head coach Tubby Smith said he wasn’t sure if he should have played senior forward Jaye Crockett because he was dealing with tendinitis in his knee.
“He’s getting treatment,” Smith said on Monday. “He sat out (Sunday). We’re probably going to sit him out today to see if it quiets down any to get some of the soreness out. He said it was still sore today. We’ll see how it goes.”
At 13-14 overall and 5-9 in the Big 12, Texas Tech has the opportunity to finish higher than eighth in the conference for the first time since 2008.
Tonight, the Red Raiders have the chance to be .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2011 as they host Kansas State at 6 p.m. in United Spirit Arena.
“We have a losing record in the league and outside the league,” head coach Tubby Smith said. “We have to step it up. We’re back at home. We have played well here. That’s one good thing.”
While the Wildcats are dangerous in Bramlage Coliseum, they are currently on a six-game losing streak away from home.
With Texas Tech trying to get 10,000 students to tonight’s game, the sixth man is sure to play a key role.
“The last few home games have been just a great environment,” Hannahs said. “The best that we’ve ever played in. ... I think the last game was the loudest I’ve ever played in in my life. After I hit a shot one time, I couldn’t hear anything. It’s great when they’re yelling for you than somewhere else they’re yelling at you.”
Earlier this season in a 66-58 loss in Manhattan, Tech was held to 20 points in the first half, its lowest mark of the season.
“We struggled a lot that first half,” Hannahs said. “The second half of that game, I remember, we started setting a lot of screens in our five out motion. We really started scoring after that. Come out with energy and movement and not being passive, just being aggressive.”
Many times during that game, the Red Raiders would take a shot from point-blank range and miss it.
Not only did that hurt Tech offensively but the Wildcats were able to get out in transition as a result.
“You should be able to captilize on (those) shots,” junior point guard Robert Turner said. “Say if I go in the lane and miss a shot, I’m usually the one getting back (on defense). If they go off, they go on fast breaks and get easy transition buckets because nobody’s back on defense. When we finish those shots and set up in our defense, it’s really hard to score on our half court defense. That will be big for us.”
Another factor in tonight’s game will be the play of junior forward Jordan Tolbert who was held scoreless against Kansas State a month ago.
“Jordan’s biggest challenge is defensively and then he has a tendency to do some things,” Smith said. “It’s important to stay within his game, that means get the ball inside and go up strong and get fouled. He’s a very good free throw shooter. I’m concerned that he doesn’t get to the free throw line more. A lot of that has to do with his unwillingness to take the ball to the basket like he should or get the ball with two hands or take it up with two hands or rebound with two hands. So that’s been a challenge for him all year long. That’s why his stats aren’t as good as they should be and he’s not as effective as he should be.”
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