Tortilla Tossin’ Player of the Game
TJ Holyfield, come on down. Holyfield was absolutely terrific and although I’m not a part of the game-planning, the staff decided that Holyfield would shoot the ball and be a bigger part of the offense that he has been all season. Azubuike can’t cover him from the outside, he didn’t even try at times and the staff knows that if you give Holyfield time, he’ll make shots. they put Kansas to an election and that’s why Azubuike only played 16 minutes. Holyfield had 19 points on 7 of 12 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from the three-point line, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 blocks, 2 steals, and 1 turnover.
- I don’t know how Texas Tech was in this game. Well, I mean, I can figure it out, but generally speaking, it seemed like Kansas should have won this game by 20, that Texas Tech was perpetually behind, or getting a shot blocked, or getting a questionable call (there were a couple) and if the score wasn’t running at the bottom, I’d swear that Texas Tech lost by 20. But they didn’t, they lost a nail-biter in Kansas, against what is statistically one of the top 5 teams in the nation, had a chance to win or tie the game and came away empty handed. it
- The first half, Texas Tech should have been down by a lot more. Texas Tech shot 38% from the floor and only 22% from the three-point line, while Kansas shot 55% from the floor and 37% from the three-point line. But by the end of that first half buzzer, Texas Tech found themselves down by just 9 points and Kansas went cold from the outside, while Texas Tech very much heated up. The Red Raiders made 48% of their shots and 58% of their three-point shots, while Kansas made 48% of their shots and just 20% of those three-pointers.
- I thought Texas Tech played their ass off this game and it’s a shame they could get the win. I tend to think that there is no coach that Kansas fears more (at least their fans) more than Chris Beard and rightfully so. You take that same roster without Clarke for the second half and without McCullar for the entire game and there’s no way that this is a three-point game and there’s no way that anyone else is even in this game.
- I thought Kansas’ offense, which I can say that I don’t watch a ton of Kansas basketball, was largely done to try to negate the no middle defense that Texas Tech rolls out. Kansas had one guy in the middle and then spread everyone out, essentially a dribble-drive offense where the Jayhawks were either driving and creating to take shots inside or three-point shots.
- Heck there was a point in the second half where Kansas made a run to go up by 11 and it looked like they’d run Texas Tech out of the gym, but Texas Tech continued to grind things out and some spectacular shooting by Holyfield and Ramsey..
- Texas Tech made just a shade over 50% in making layups, 11 of 21, that’s how good Kansas is in terms of protecting the rim. This was a really clean game in terms of possession, Kansas only turned the ball over 10 times and Texas Tech 9. Texas Tech was within 3 of the overall rebounds, 36-33. Kansas won the points in the paint, which usually doesn’t happen, 38-28, but they took a ton of shots near the rim. Not a surprise that Kansas won the bench points battle, 20-5.
- After the game, head coach Chris Beard said that Jahmi’us Ramsey should have taken that last shot. It stinks that this didn’t happen for Texas Tech, but I had to go back and remember where a player like Jarrett Culver was as a true freshman, didn’t really have the handles to create on his own and didn’t really have the ability to create on his own or get a shot off. As a freshman, Culver had an assist rate of 12.9%, a turnover rate of 15.8% and shot 38% from the three-point line. Ramsey isn’t far off, but he’s a much better shooter. 12.6% assist rate, 15.1% turnover rate, but he’s making 43% of his shots. Ramsey isn’t a finished product yet and it stinks that he couldn’t drain that last shot, but he’s on pace to be great, you’ll just have to stick with it for a bit. Texas Tech isn’t even in this game without Ramsey’s ability to hit from deep. Was Morretti open in the corner? Yeah, he was, but I don’t want to yell about this. Moretti was 1 of 5 on the day from the three-point line so it’s not like it was going to be automatic. I don’t like the loss, but dont’ hate the effort.
- Chris Beard on the final possession (emphasis mine):
“You’ve still got some time to take the two and then maybe get the quick foul or the quick trap. We’re prepared for these moments. We (have) got some young guys on the floor. I loved our composure in the last three or four minutes; we gave ourselves a chance. I would’ve liked to have had a timeout, but Allen Fieldhouse, the crowd, the Phog, you know it had something to do with that. I almost didn’t call that one but I feel like I needed to. I would’ve loved to have had that timeout late in the game, but it doesn’t go that way. That’s the value of Kansas’ homecourt. We’ve got the same thing in Lubbock. We just try to get the best basket we can. I thought Ramsey made the right play late. I know we were down three, but he had the chance to get and make one. I told him that was the right play to make. You’re not always going to make the play, but you do want to make the right play. More times than not, things will go your way. But I liked the way we finished tonight. We gave ourselves a chance.”
- Beard’s opening statement (emphasis mine):
“I’m just obviously really proud of our team today, we fought, you know. Adversity, injuries are such a large part of college basketball, so we were without Chris Clarke today, with the ankle. He tried to play, showing a lot of courage getting ready, but just couldn’t move. Kevin McCullar, a freshman in our rotation, he’s going through concussion protocols so to be missing two of our top seven or eight players coming here, getting into a one-possession game, I think that speaks pretty clearly on how dominant we were. (It’s) Not an excuse, at all, but it’s just part of it. It’s what makes Kansas’ run here and the consistency success so impressive. They’ve had their share of injuries and have guys being out and what have you. They just find a way to win. As we continue to build our program, you know the expectation will try to be to win games like this even when we’re a little short-handed. But (I) congratulate Kansas on a great win. I thought the difference in the game from where I was sitting and standing were the blocked shots. We talked about trying to have a jump stop and a two-foot game. We wanted to play a low turnover game, which we got done, but we wanted to put those blocked shots in the category of turnovers, because to get your shot blocked by Kansas, it’s a live ball, so they’re going to transition on you. Other than that, the guys played a pretty clean game. We just have to do a better job of not getting our shots blocked. But again, congratulations to Kansas. It’s a place we always enjoy coming to play because we have such respect for this program and all the players and coaches before us. I got my coaching start in Fort Scott Community College just down the road (in Fort Scott, Kansas). I’ve always had a fond feeling about this state and its profound respect for basketball. Tonight is no different. So it was an honor to play in front of this crowd. I thought the guys played really well. I’m proud of our team.”
- Beard on Kansas driving to the middle (emphasis mine):
“It’s obviously a big game plan. It’s not a secret, we prefer the ball not to get in the middle. But Kansas gets to the middle, that’s where the threes come, the downhill drives come. Tonight, we just didn’t do a very good job, especially in the first half. The second half, Coach Self, doing what he always does, was controlling things, putting the ball in the middle of the floor. Then it really just kind of turned into a one-on-one game and as a coach, you make those decisions. They’ve got good 3-point shooters, and they keep their bigs right there around the rim for dunks. Late in the game we scrambled it out of his hands a couple of times, but give the guy credit. He made a lot of one-on-one plays. He did a great job of initiating contact. I know it’s a hard call for the officials, but give them credit. Victory favors the more aggressive team, and that’ s what Coach Self’s team always tries to be. And so do we. I thought we were aggressive out there tonight, too. Really proud of our team. As a coach, you don’t want to make excuses but, he’s (TJ Holyfield) banged up and he’s playing hurt right now and to play the way he played tonight, it was one of my all-time most courageous player-coach moments. This guy was just dynamite tonight. I hope that’ll be part of the story tomorrow.”