On Thursday in Lubbock, the Texas Tech basketball team went 2-0 with an easy 78-54 win over Texas Southern. Here are some takeaways from what we saw at the United Supermarkets Arena.
Balanced scoring rules the day
Even though it’s only been two games, we can start to see that this team will have a balanced attacking attack. There doesn’t seem to be one or two specific players who will be the offensive catalysts every time.
Rather, this team looks like a roster that receives input from both the top and bottom of the roster. That’s how it was on Thursday evening.
Three Red Raiders hit double digits. Kevin Obanor and Jaylon Tyson each had 13 chips, while De’Vion gave Harmon 12 chips. That followed a game where Tech had just one double-digit scorer, Daniel Batcho, in the season opener.
The good news is that Tech has had four different players with solid offensive plays so far. However, one has to wonder if this team will know where their bread is on offense when it comes to the Maui Invitational in Thanksgiving week. When games are tight, who does Tech turn to for big buckets? That is yet to be answered.
An important improvement
On Monday, Tech committed a whopping 20 turnovers against Northwestern State. That didn’t sit well with head coach Mark Adams.
Thankfully, his team took a step in the right direction on Thursday by giving away the ball just 12 times. That’s a number everyone involved can live with.
One concern, however, is that freshman guard Pop Isaacs once again experienced high turnover. After personally committing five turnovers in the first game, the former 4-star signer lost the ball four more times to Texas Southern.
That’s problematic because Tech is counting on Isaacs to be a primary ball handler this season, especially when Harmon is off the court. Therefore, games with such hefty giveaways from the Las Vegas native could be a big problem against better competition in the future.
3s don’t fall
Texas Tech basketball fans will be watching closely as this team shoots the ball from 3-point range given the reputation of assistant coach Steve Green, this team’s offensive architect, who is known for designing an offense that turns the 3 ball. So far this aspect of the offense has not made its step.
Tech made just 5-17 shots from beyond the arc Thursday, bringing the season’s 3-point shooting to just 12-35 (34.2%). It’s not bad, but less than we had hoped.
One reason for the slow start from downtown could be a few nights off from North Carolina’s Kerwin Walton. Known as a 3-point sniper, he was brought here to help this program address what is arguably his greatest weakness a season ago.
So far, however, Walton has only hit 1-6 from long range. That has to change for the Red Raiders as soon as possible. Walton will perhaps be the key play Adams takes off the bench this season and his goal is needed. Hopefully he finds the range from outside before Tech leaves for Maui.
Free throws were excellent
Unless you want to dominate outside teams, you’d better be making a living on the free-throw line in today’s game, and Tech has done that so far.
On Thursday, the Red Raiders were 17:22 (77.3%) on the line. That was a nice follow-up to Monday’s 18-22 (81.8%) result.
What helps make the free throw line a weapon for tech is that the Red Raiders don’t send opponents there very often either. So far, Tech’s two opponents have only gone 9-16 at the line. So Tech made 19 more free throws than his opponents tried. That’s a formula for success.
Fighting on the boards is still a concern
Rebounding will be an issue for this team until injured 7-foot transfer Fardaws Aimaq returns, who is out with a broken foot. That’s because Tech has almost no size when Batcho is off the ground.
So giving up offensive rebounds was a problem early in the season. Texas Southern managed to knock down 14 boards per game after Northwestern State grabbed 15.
Sure, playing with Kevin Obanor as the tallest player on the court with 6ft 8 small ball sounds like a neat idea in theory. And yes, you can create mismatches with such a lineup.
The problem, however, is that tech allows for too many second-chance opportunities, and most of them come with smaller lineups on the floor. I’m afraid this is something this team will continue to struggle with while Aimaq is on hiatus.