The difference with this Texas Tech basketball team compared with last season is its willingness to fight.
A year ago, when the Red Raiders faced a sizeable deficit, they folded.
That’s not the case this season.
Down by 14 points toward the end of the first half, Texas Tech fought to tie the game just over five minutes into the second half and held on to defeat TCU 83-79 in Lubbock.
It marked the first time in Big 12 history that Texas Tech has strung together five-straight conference wins.
With merely two weeks left in the regular season, it’s about time for some accolades to be handed out.
As far as Coach of the Year is concerned, Kansas coach Bill Self thinks the choice is simple.
“He has a great staff,” Self said. “Tubby is an icon in our profession. It’s great to see all the good things that have happened to them. They are young so they are going to continue to get better. They have so many different guys step up and make plays. When we start talking about Coach of the Year, I don’t think you have to look much further than Tubby.”
STILLWATER, Okla. — Toddrick Gotcher has been at Texas Tech since the 2011-12 season.
The senior guard knew the weight of Saturday night’s contest in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
And he made sure the Red Raiders didn’t lose any of the momentum they’d gained over the last two weeks as he finished with a career high 24 points as Texas Tech defeated Oklahoma State 71-61.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
TEXAS TECH AT OKLAHOMA STATE
8:30 P.M. SATURDAY, ESPNU
Texas Tech is in a different place than the last time it prepared to take on Oklahoma State. A few weeks ago, the Red Raiders were trying to finish games and had just lost to Oklahoma and Arkansas on the road.
The home overtime win over the Cowboys was needed to get back on track.
Q: How much fun was last week getting wins over Iowa State and Baylor?
A: It was a great experience, a lot of fun. As you know, me and Jordan (Jackson) and the five freshmen were having fun on the bench versus Baylor. That was an exciting moment to do, so yeah.
Q: Did y’all know you would do the bench celebrations beforehand or was it something that happened in the moment?
Beyond the mass of Texas Tech fans losing their minds on the court, down the hallway past Kliff Kingsbury and behind the locker room door, the Red Raiders were going nuts.
After the dancing and the dabbing had settled down, Tubby Smith had a message for his team after upsetting No. 3 Oklahoma 65-63.
“We’re not overachieving, fellows,” the Texas Tech coach said. “This is where we belong.”
And the Red Raiders continue to prove it.
Holding onto a two-point lead over the third ranked team in the nation, Texas Tech still had to get a defensive stop against the best offensive team in the conference.
Sooner guard Isaiah Cousins misfired on an alley-oop, and Ryan Spangler missed the put back before Toddrick Gotcher pulled down the rebound to seal the 65-63 victory for the Red Raiders.
Tubby Smith said advancing to the postseason “was” one of the goals for Texas Tech.
“Was” would have been the case, if the Red Raiders hadn’t unseated back-to-back AP Top 25 teams for the first time since 2007 last week.
The Texas Tech coach quickly corrected himself.
“That IS one of our goals,” he said.
This time a year ago, postseason play wasn’t an option.
The Red Raider coaching staff felt like they were still on track, as long as their players kept believing.
WACO — Keenan Evans put on a show.
If anyone thought he was just the 31 percent 3-point shooter who banked one in against Iowa State, they aren’t thinking that now.
After putting up 17 points in Texas Tech’s win over No. 14 Iowa State earlier this week, Evans’ 21 points, five assists and four steals led the way as the Red Raiders defeated No. 21 Baylor 84-66 Saturday night at Ferrell Center.
“I’m just trying to be more aggressive overall,” Evans said. “I also wanted to find my teammates and get them open.”