Texas Tech added another game to their home win streak with an emotional 74-67 victory over the No. 6 ranked Texas Longhorns on Monday night. The Red Raiders have now won three consecutive home games against AP top-15 ranked teams. In picking up this third Quad 1 win, Texas Tech improves to 14-12 (3-10 in Big 12 play) and biefly climbed out of last place in the conference standings until Oklahoma upset Kansas State in Norman last night. They will seek to build on this momentum when they take on West Virginia on Saturday in Morgantown.
I will be breaking down Monday night’s win into three different sections: Game Perspective, Player Perspective, and My Perspective.
The “Game Perspective” will discuss the analytical aspects of the game that contributed to the win, similar to a typical recap.
The “Player Perspective” will highlight how different players reacted to the win and what it meant to them.
Finally, “My Perspective” will give you some insight into my thoughts and emotions about the game after camping out for it again this year.
De’Vion Harmon displayed all the qualities of a true veteran leader and facilitator on Monday when he showed out, sporting 25 points on nearly 53% shooting from the field. Harmon also shot 3-4 (75%) from three, including a heavily-contested, buzzer beater three to close out the first half.
De’Vion truly highlighted his ability to score at all three levels as he drained shots from the mid-range, beyond the arc, as well as at the rim. He has quickly become one of the best finishers on the team in terms of driving to the lane and scoring through contact. Coming up with big buckets in the clutch, from anywhere on the floor, has become one of Harmon’s specialties as of late and has proven to be such a valuable asset to this Texas Tech team.
Kevin Obanor also had a fantastic night against Texas as shown by his 19 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. The clutch gene is certainly a shared trait between Harmon and Obanor as KO managed a massive, momentum-shifting dunk to end a 6-0 run by Texas that had tied the game late in the second half. Less than one minute later, he attacked the rim again as he slammed home an alley-oop from Fardaws Aimaq.
Fardaws had an impressive game as well with 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and a block through his 28 minutes of action. After the relatively disappointing game he had on Saturday, Aimaq’s ability to bounce back and be such a productive scorer, rebounder, and distributor showed that he might finally be getting back into a rhythm following his injury. Although clearly not back to 100% just yet, it was very encouraging to see Fardaws playing at the level he was on Monday night.
The Red Raider defense played a massive role in their victory over the Longhorns as they held a team that averages over 47% from the field to just 39%. According to BartTorvik, Texas’s adjusted offensive efficiency dropped from 130.7 to 112.2 following Monday’s game, their third largest drop in offensive efficiency since conference play began. Additionally, Texas Tech is now only one of five teams all season to have held Texas to under 70 points.
It’s no secret that Monday’s win over the Longhorns was an emotional one for nearly every party involved. The moment the final buzzer sounded, De’Vion Harmon, overcome with emotion, dropped to the floor, and you could immediately see just how much this win meant to him.
“Just playing hard for my teammates and playing hard for this great university. This is what it’s all about, man,” Harmon said in a post-game interview.
When asked about the home-court advantage that comes with playing at United Supermarkets, Harmon, tearing up, responded, “Fifteen-, sixteen-thousand deep, it’s amazing. I’m glad I chose it, and they’ve chosen me.”
It’s so apparent that DH has fully embraced the culture that is Texas Tech, and it’s times like these that make me so proud to be a part of such an amazing school.
If these past few games have proven anything, it’s that each and every one of these guys still has so much fight left to give, and they don’t intend on taking their foot off the gas.
In Monday’s post-game press conference, Kevin Obanor addressed the team’s early struggles by saying, “You get beat up seven, eight times, but it speaks more to the character and the people that we are to get back up.”
He then continued to say, “Just playing with that urgency and that mindset, it kind of just spreads throughout the locker room.”
The unwavering sense of solidarity among these players over the past few weeks has, in my opinion, been one of the most significant contributors to Texas Tech’s recent success.
Outside of four games that fell during Winter Breaks over the years, I have yet to miss a single home basketball game throughout my four years at Texas Tech. Basketball has been my passion for a long time, and that passion has only grown in my time as a student here.
I have always been the student that waits in line for hours upon hours outside the USA to get the best possible seat to cheer on my favorite team, and this season has been no exception. This past weekend was the third time I have camped out for Texas Tech basketball, and, if I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Although this year’s edition of Raiderville was merely a fraction of the size that it was last year, I had just as much, if not more, fun than I did in my previous years of camping out. Despite a 2-10 conference record going into the Texas game, we still managed to accumulate nearly 30 tents of students that all shared the same passion that I do for Texas Tech basketball.
With my two friends and I being three of the Executive members of Raider Riot, there was no real incentive for us to camp as we already had our front-row seats reserved; however, that certainly didn’t stop us from pitching our tent the second the Kansas State game ended this past Saturday. To say we had a blast during those 48 hours would just about be the understatement of the century.
Between grilling with strangers, countless hours of plastic ax-throwing, and Port-a-Potty horror stories, nothing bonds you with fellow Red Raiders quite like a Raiderville campout. I’ll tell you right now, if you’ve never watched Patrick Mahomes compete for a Super Bowl ring with 50 sports-loving Tech students while camping outside a basketball arena, then you’re missing out.
While some may think it’s silly to have camped out for this game given our record, I looked at it from the opposite perspective: our record is precisely the reason we needed to camp. The way I saw it, camping out for the game would show this team that, even in spite of our record, we haven’t given up on them and they still have our full support.
I can now say, without a doubt, that, even if we had lost on Monday night, it all would have been worth it to have a student section that looked like this again:
I don’t think enough people realize just how far continued support from a fanbase can go in terms of a team’s success. It truly can change everything.
While it’s true we’ve had some pretty low lows this season, I can’t help but think the pieces are finally starting to fall into place for this team. While some may say it’s a little late for things to just now be coming together, I, for one, still haven’t given up on the March Madness dream, so I say that it’s happening just in time to make some noise.
That relentless fight that we’ve seen glimpses of from different players throughout the season is now a team-wide occurrence that we are finally seeing on a consistent basis.
While I’m doing my best to remain realistic, I have a feeling that if this same team continues to show up for the rest of the season, an NCAA Tournament berth is far from out of the question. I’m looking forward to the game in Morgantown this weekend as it will be a quality road test to indicate whether or not this team has the potential to go on a serious run in the weeks to come.