Earlier this month, we discussed the Top 10 athletes, plays and games from the 2018-2019 school year. This week, we’re going to look at the top performances from the year. If you missed any of our previous lists, you can click the links below:
|Staking The Plains Top Ten 2018-2019|
|Athletes (Part 1/Part 2)||Plays (Part 1/Part 2)||Games (Part 1/Part 2)||Performances (Part 1/Part 2)||Programs (Part 1/Part 2)|
Last year we had the top moments, but I felt top performances was a better category. It helps recognize performances that were huge parts of their team’s victory or performances that almost lead to victory. I will look at top performances kind of like I did with top games, with how big the performances was the actual game’s outcome, the affect it had on the season, the audience and how dominant the athlete was.
This list actually was fairly easy to create. I knew what I wanted the Top 6 on this list to be, and didn’t have a hard time deciding what order to put them in. I ended being pretty set on No. 7 too. The hard part of deciding what to put for the final three on this list, and comparing performances from football to basketball to baseball.
Before we get to No. 10-6, let’s review our honorable mention:
- Bryce Bonnin vs DBU (Game 3) — The Red Raiders didn’t score many runs in their final game against Dallas Baptist, with Cameron Warren supplying the lone runs off a three run home run. They needed dominant pitching, and they got that from the electric Bonnin. The sophomore went 7 IP with a WHIP of 0.71 and seven strikeouts against one of the top offenses in the nation.
- Alan Bowman vs Houston — This was Bowman’s coming out party. The freshman broke Patrick Mahomes’ single game freshmen passing record for a Big 12 player with 605 yards, which was also six away from the NCAA record. He completed just under 75% of his passes and threw for five touchdowns as well. This is when we knew we had our future quarterback.
- Jarrett Culver vs Kansas — In order to win the Big 12, Texas Tech needed to defeat Kansas. Culver made sure that happened. Even though it didn’t have a huge impact on a 29 point win, Culver still was impressive, shooting 10-21 for 26 points, four assists and two rebounds against a Top 15 team in the nation.
- Dru Baker vs OKST (Game 2) — If game probably would have made the list if Texas Tech would have pulled it off, but unfortunately they didn’t. It was still an impressive game by the freshman though. Baker went 2-3 with two RBI, two runs and a stolen base. He tied the game late with a solo shot and took the lead with an RBI single an inning later.
- Brandone Francis vs Virginia — Another lost, but if the Red Raiders were to win the national championship, this is who would have gotten the most attention I think. In fact, he might’ve gotten the MVP of the Final Four. Francis scored a career high 17 points off 7-12 shooting, including a few three pointers and four rebounds.
- Norense Odiase vs Buffalo — Odiase was unstoppable on the glass against Buffalo, who had no answer for the senior. Odiase recorded a season high 14 points and a career high 15 rebounds to give himself a double-double. The 15 rebounds were also a Texas Tech NCAA tournament record.
- Jarrett Culver vs Duke — This one, along with the Francis performance, just missed the cut, and maybe I’ll look back on these and regret not putting them on there. Against three lottery picks, a hall of fame coach, and the No. 1 team on national TV, Culver dropped 25 points on 9-21 shooting, while also recording six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
- Cameron Warren vs Oklahoma (Game 1) — In order to win the Big 12, Texas Tech needed a sweep in Norman. Warren got the Red Raiders on the right track right away in the opening game. The senior went 4 for 4 with four runs and four RBIs. This includes two dingers and a double. All four RBIs were scored down 6-3, putting Texas Tech up 7-6 afterwards.
- Duke Kicinski at T&F Championships — It’s difficult to lead you off the top performance list when you win a National Championship. Kicinski did this at the Track and Field championships with a throw of 205-2, which gave Texas Tech enough points to clinch the first Men’s National Championship.
- Zhairrea Willis at T&F Championships — Much like Kicinski, Willis also walked away with a National Championship at the Track and Field championships. She did so with a jump of 1.88 meters, narrowly defeating the second place finisher.
No. 10 Taylor Floyd vs Florida State
Why He Was Chosen?: Texas Tech needed a masterful pitching performance to get the baseball team to their best finish in program history. Bryce Bonnin got the Red Raiders halfway there, but the team had a narrow one run lead and were facing elimination. But Floyd refused to let that happen.
In the last four innings of the game, Floyd faced 16 batters and retired 12 out of them. He allowed just one hit and four walks, with two of them coming after Texas Tech went up 4-1 in the eighth. The most impressive part was the movement and accuracy on his pitches.
His slider was the best we’ve ever seen from him. The ball left his hand in one batters box and would end up in the other at times, forcing terrible swing and misses. This helped him get eight strikeouts in just four innings of play, which is incredibly difficult to do. He also allowed just one fly ball, which meant that there was no chance to hit for extra bases.
Floyd not only proved he was the best pitcher out of the bullpen for the Red Raiders last year, but also that he was one of the best relievers Texas Tech had seen, coming up clutch time and time again.
No. 9 Tariq Owens vs Memphis
Why He Was Chosen?: It looked like Texas Tech was going to lose their first game of the season in Miami to Memphis, the school Tubby Smith left the Red Raiders for (even though he was no longer there). The problem was that the defensive squad was having a tough time stopping the Tigers. Someone needed the slow them down.
Enter Owens. The senior from St. John’s had been a huge defensive rim protector is his first several games for the Red Raiders, and they needed him again against an offensive heavy Memphis squad. Especially when the Texas Tech was down double digits in the second half.
As the team from Lubbock started to make a comeback, Memphis failed to find the bottom of the net thanks to the rim protecting from Owens. He recorded seven blocks in the second half, and six in the final eight minutes when the comeback was happening. The senior also had two huge transition dunks during that stretch, including an And-1 to take the lead and a rim rocker a minute later.
If you remember, in the first game of the season, Owens nearly broke the Texas Tech single game blocks record. He finally did so in this game, recording eight blocks. In fact, he almost had a Kanye West triple double (“Triple Double no assists), as he was just two blocks away from achieving it. He had a lot of great moments, but this game was his best performance.
No. 8 Jarrett Culver vs Northern Kentucky
Why He Was Chosen?: Although the level of competition may not be as tough as some of the other teams on the list, Jarrett Culver had an unbelievable stat line in an elimination game in the NCAA tournament. It would’ve been the best performance that round if Ja Morant didn’t record a triple double the previous day.
Still, his performance showed why the Minnesota Timberwolves took the guard with the sixth overall pick. Culver scored nearly every way you can imagine. He spot up and hit some three pointers, cut to the basket for easy lay-ups, and had a couple acrobatic moves to the basket that were analyzed by the broadcasting crew afterwards.
Perhaps the most impressive part was the way he created plays. Culver had a career high seven assists in the game, and it was all thanks to his awareness. It was obvious players were keying in on Culver, so he made some magnificent passes to open players under the basket or on the perimeter.
This was just an overall great game from Culver, but from a pure statistics point a view, the best of his career. That being said, this wasn’t his best performance of the season, as he had a better way that found its way on the list a little later.
No. 7 Vaughnte Dorsey vs Oklahoma
Why He Was Chosen?: Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy, given to the best player in college football. Throughout the season, he had seven interceptions. Two of them came against Texas Tech. Which were both in the first quarter. And both by Vaughnte Dorsey. The senior had a career day against perhaps the best offense in the nation.
The first interception came on the first drive of the game. Dorsey looked like he was covering the tight end, but peeled off and got between Murray and Marquise Brown to give the Red Raiders the ball deep in the redzone. The second came on the very next drive. Dorsey took advantage of an overthrown pass in Oklahoma territory and returned it all the way to the 25 yards line.
Those interceptions gave the Red Raiders a 14-0 lead, which was important against a Top 5 team like Oklahoma. However, that’s not all Dorsey did that game. He recorded a game high and career high 11 tackles. He also recorded half a sack in the game.
What made all this even more special is that Dorsey’s mom drove 13 hours straight to watch her son perform on a big stage. It was sort of like when Davide Moretti had a big game against Michigan after his family flew in to see him play. What a performance by Dorsey in a big moment.
No. 6 Josh Jung vs OKST (Game 3)
Why He Was Chosen?: Texas Tech was facing a winner take all with a trip to the College World Series on the line. They needed their best players to step up if they wanted to move on. Luckily for the Red Raiders, their best player definitly exactly that, contributing with a couple home runs and great defense.
In the third inning, with the Red Raiders up 2-1, Jung took the third pitch of the at bat over the right center field wall to give Texas Tech an early insurance run in the ballgame. Five innings later, the Red Raiders were no longer up two runs, but instead down two runs. Texas Tech needed a spark to in order to mount a comeback.
Jung provided that (10:42 in the video) on a 2-2 pitch in the eighth inning. Once again, he took a pitch to the opposite field, this time brining the Red Raiders within one. Now, a home run could tie the game. Or, a three run homer to take an 8-6 lead.
It’s rare for a player to hit multiple home runs in a game, and it’s even harder to do so against a Top 10 team in an elimination game. But Jung did just that, and helped bring Texas Tech to yet another College World Series.