On Saturday, the Red Raiders completed their sweep of the in-state rival Texas Longhorns in a close 68 to 59 battle. Texas Tech started of slow and sloppy much like we’ve come to know this year. Freshman center Vlad Goldin got his first taste of meaningful BIG 12 basketball, it did end well.
He was quickly returned to the bench after getting scored on at the rim and missing his only attempt after a failed pump fake. Even with all the bad in the first half for Coach Beard, he had his guys playing like a team. Starting slow is a problem the Red Raiders might not be able to overcome in the NCAA Tournament.
The tides began to quickly turn towards the end of the first half with an amazing tomahawk slam by Erving Award finalist Terrence Shannon Jr.. He followed that up with two more nice throwdowns in the second half. Coach Beards’ team flourished on the defensive side of the ball giving up only 26 points in the second half. One of the more interesting stories on Saturday was freshman guard Chibuzo Agbo.
While Agbo did have the 7th most points on the team Saturday, he showed the nation he can play. In the 3 minutes he spent on the court, he recorded a block and 4 points. His stat line didn’t jump off the paper, but it gave the Red Raiders the emotional boost they needed to build a lead in the second half. A lot of people even considered him an MVP candidate for Saturday’s game.
Shaka Smart’s sideline energy should not go unnoticed. I sat relatively close to the Texas bench on game day. Every time TTU would get a highlight play or further extend the lead I would look to the Texas bench. Not a single time did I see his players get down on themselves until the final buzzer. Emotional intelligence plays a much bigger role in March than you’d think.
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Texas Tech will be back in action against BIG 12 foe TCU on Tuesday, March 2nd. Also be sure to follow GunsUpNation on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for all the latest Texas Tech athletics news and content.