From the start it looked as though the Red Raiders were not
only going to beat the Aggies in the last installment of the historic series,
but blow them right out of the United Spirit Arena.
But poor defense and a poor second half offensive
performance took that right away from Texas Tech (8-17, 1-12 in Big 12
Conference Play) as Texas A&M slowly climbed its way back into the game
eventually getting the lead and the win taking the final meeting 47-38.
“Tough, disappointing loss, had some moments where we played
really well, didn’t play good enough for 40 minutes,” Tech head coach Billy Gillispie
said. “They definitely started hitting some shots and playing better, and then
when it got right down to it we weren’t tough enough in the lane to beat them.”
The game opened with the Red Raiders going on a 13-5 run
before Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy was forced to call a timeout to
try and figure out what was not working for his squad.
It didn’t get any better as Tech continued to pour it on
eventually extending its lead to 24-9 and almost putting the Aggies (13-12,
4-9) completely out of sight.
But A&M had some fight left in them.
With back-to-back three-pointers from Jordan Green and
Elston Turner, who finished the game with 16 points leading the Aggies in scoring,
A&M was right back in the it only down by nine, 24-15.
“Well they’re good shooters and that’s a big part of their
offense right now,” Gillispie said about the Aggies three-point shooting. “We
had them 24-9 and we let them make two straight three-point shots and neither
one of them were very well defended. We haven’t been up that much on anyone in
a long time, and we just didn’t handle the lead very well defensively.”
A&M would add another basket, but Tech took a 26-17 lead
into the locker room marking the second straight game where the Red Raiders
took a lead into halftime.
Coming out of the half, the Aggies momentum seemed to carry
over from the late surge at the end of the first half, and the Red Raiders
could not seem to get anything to fall in their favor.
The Aggies started the second half on a 9-0 run knotting the
game up at 26 apiece, but the Red Raiders were able to fight off this run with
one of their own.
Tech was able to hang onto the lead for the majority of the
game, 33 minutes and 17 seconds of it to be exact, but A&M was able to take
the lead from the Red Raiders with just 6:43 left in the game and never look
After the Aggies took the lead, 38-36, the Red Raiders would
score only one more basket while A&M rattled off eight unanswered points to
close out the game on a 9-2 run sealing the 47-38 win.
“Two teams fighting for a win, but our guys fought through
some adversity in the first half, and did a great job defensively in the second
half,” Kennedy said. “We did a better job taking care of the ball, fortunate to
get a win.”
Despite the scoring being one of the biggest issues for the
Red Raiders, scoring only 12 points in the second half, the Aggies also crashed
the boards and outrebounded the Red Raiders substantially.
A&M outrebounded Tech 41-23 and took advantage of those
extra scoring opportunities scoring 16 second chance points, while the Red
Raiders were able to just muster up four.
Tech sophomore forward Jaye Crockett, who led the Red
Raiders in scoring with 12, said it all came down to who was more aggressive and
in that category the Aggies were.
“They were just more aggressive than us, we weren’t boxing
our man out, balls were going over our head,” she said. “And sometime on free
throw rebounds we weren’t pinching. We just weren’t aggressive going towards
Crockett along with four other players played the majority
of the game with starters Ty Nurse, Javarez Willis and Luke Adams playing all
40 minutes and Robert Lewandowski contributing 34 of his own.
Other than that group, only one other player – Jordan Tolbert
– played significant time in the game. In total eight Tech players made
it onto the final box score.
With having that many minutes played by just a handful of
players fatigue might have been an issue, but Crockett said that wasn’t an
issue but rather something else in the end that cost the Red Raiders the win.
“I didn’t even realize we only played five or six people, I
didn’t realize that until the end of the game,” he said. “I mean because we
condition so hard in practice, and we go hard so that makes the games easier.
It was just aggressiveness, we weren’t aggressive.”