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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Stone-faced Red Raiders not typical visitors to fieldhouse

Texas Tech guard Keenan Evans (12) puts up a three over Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Texas Tech guard Keenan Evans (12) puts up a three over Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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It was one of those signature Kansas  blitzes in Allen Fieldhouse. The visiting team starts to melt under the pressure of the noise, the sheer talent of the opposition, the name on the home jerseys, and the game flips.

In 43 seconds midway through the second half Tuesday night, a 13-point Kansas deficit withered to six points. Pandemonium in the stands. Panic for the visitors was certain to follow. Surely, Kansas was in the midst of one of its wild second-half comebacks.

Guess again.

A Texas Tech squad that looked more aggressive and confident than the home team more than held on. The Red Raiders controlled the game from start to finish, but for those 43 seconds. Texas Tech never trailed and looked like the better team, winning 85-73.

That Tech six-point lead became nine when freshman Davide Moretti of Italy hit a 3-pointer to silence the crowd, as big a bucket as anyone made all night.

Nothing about either the atmosphere or KU’s talent intimidated the Red Raiders, who looked as if they couldn’t wait for the ref to toss the ball in the air for the center jump. They trashed Baylor, 77-53, in Lubbock, Texas, and took their show on the road without missing a beat.

“I was proud of our poise,” second-year Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I was proud of our demeanor.”

Red Raiders senior guard Keenan Evans spoke to how the Red Raiders stopped the bleeding when Kansas cut into the deficit.

“It’s something we preach every day: keep our composure, no matter what,” Evans said. “Once the crowd got going we knew they were going to make big shots and dunks. We just had to stay stone-faced and keep playing.”

Evans took the upset victory in stone-faced stride.

“We work too hard not to walk in here and expect that,” Evans said.

Beard used the “stone-faced” term, as well. It’s obviously something Beard preaches and his players did a terrific job of practicing it, a trio of freshmen included.

Jarrett Culver, Moretti and Zhaire Smith combined for 28 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals in 66 stone-faced minutes.

A half a week into Big 12 play, Texas Tech (2-0), West Virginia (2-0) and Oklahoma (1-0) are the lone teams not to lose a game. Flexing its home-court muscles will be tougher for Kansas than in most seasons. Home teams are 1-8 in Big 12 games, with the lone victory belonging to Texas Tech. That won’t last, obviously, but it does speak to how Big 12 players don’t sweat easily on the road this season.

Kansas coach Bill Self, who has won at least a share of 13 consecutive Big 12 titles, will have as tough a road to another as he’s ever had.

Oklahoma and West Virginia represent the biggest challenges, but after watching Texas Tech use its 10-man rotation so effectively, it’s not premature to mention the Red Raiders as title contenders, as well.

Self called them “10 guys who are tough, interchangeable. They like each other and they play for each other.”

Kansas had the best player on the floor in senior Devonte’ Graham (27 points), but depth prevailed from start to finish.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas Tech


By the Numbers: Texas Tech 85, Kansas 73

By the Numbers: Texas Tech 85, Kansas 73

Comments

Blake Phillips 9 months, 2 weeks ago

lol.... nobody posting because everyone is pissed about the loss.

First football sucks..... now basketball is looking bleak.

I still am hopeful that bill self and staff are trying to not adjust their practicing or formula, and just waiting until preston and sousa are ready to go.

It would be such a headache to change your entire philosophy on offense and defense because a player is out (preston)....... i hope they are just sticking to the game-plan, knowing they are under-maned and will bounce back and be typical KU BASKETBALL as soon as their forward is back to help with depth and system offense.

Tony Bandle 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Blake, you appear a lot more confident than I am that Preston will actually play this year. Silvio, no doubt..just a matter of days, but Billy's situation is muddier than the Mississippi River.

It is frustrating to watch a game and see five guys on the bench who could really help [the Lawsons, Moore, Silvio and Billy].

Marc Frey 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Like you, I have my doubts Preston will ever suit up. As I have posted before, it does not take more than one day to run the VIN # and find out who owns the care, who has the note on it (if there is) and why Preston had access to it. Since we are going on our 3rd month, my guess is he is ineligible.

Armen Kurdian 9 months, 2 weeks ago

HCBS is having to play with a hand tied behind his back, and as was said, with all those guys riding the bench, there is no question this team would be different w/them on the floor and it boggles my mind whiskey tango foxtrot is the deal w/Preston and why this is taking so long. It's hurting him and hurting the program.

Of course, if we could just guard, we might be able to hold opponents below 80.

Edward Daub 9 months, 2 weeks ago

You can "Chisel this one in the Stone Tablets"! Tom Keegan actually made a TYPO , Road Teams are 1-8 in the Big 12? Correction , 8-1! WVU already has 2 road wins.

Good News on the NCAA Front, they have returned to work in their "daubert style" cubicles! How do I know this? Yesterday, the NCAA announced that WVU forward Esa Ahmad will be eligible to play starting Sat, Jan 13, just in time for KU on Mon Jan 15.

Maybe they can get back to work on Silvio and Billy!

John Strayer 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Regarding Big XII road wins...I seem to remember KU winning in Austin TX a couple of days ago....someone is really bad at math.

DiscGolfer Jason 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Unfortunately, KU is going to lose to two Texas teams this week.

dang

Barry Weiss 9 months, 2 weeks ago

and it easily could have been 3, we shot abnormally well at Texas...miss a few of those and we would be staring down an 0-3 record.

Craig Carson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

dont give TCU the win just yet..they let Baylor storm back after leading by 20

Roger Ortega 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't think TCU is as good as everyone thinks. They are good though. I think we play focused and angry (I hate to say that bc of WSU) so I think we'll win this one. For us to win 14 it's going to come down to the rest of the Big 12 beating each other up.

Barry Weiss 9 months, 2 weeks ago

We were killed on the boards and our guards could not take care of the ball. That is all that needs to be said about this game.

Still really frustrated over the Preston deal. Whoever was involved in giving him that car, ruined our season, or at least hurt it badly. Dok with 4 guards will not cut it as we saw in the rebounding stats tonight.

Oh well, we had 11 losses if I recall correctly, when we won the NC in 1988. I think a conference championship this year is slipping away pretty quick. Just need to hope for a hot streak in the dance.

Roger Ortega 9 months, 2 weeks ago

We also had Danny Manning. Not one player on our team is close to that caliber. But you are right. A hot streak at the right time and BAM!

Joe Norton 9 months, 2 weeks ago

There are several people saying things wouldn’t change much if De Sousa and Preston were in the game. They don’t know the offense, etc. I agree with that part. However, you can’t say is that both of them can’t grab 6 boards out of Tech’s 18 offensive rebounds and a 2-3 more defensive rebounds? The game is now close to a even score if that happens.

Craig Carson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

those 2 change the entire outlook of the team, especially Preston..He adds a dimension to this team that noone else does..Self would probably have played 2 bigs had he been available..

Joe Norton 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Vick, come on buddy. We need a little more than 2 points. Drive the lane more and get fouled.

Craig Carson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Vick has improved but his handles are sloppy..everytime he drives into traffic I fear him loosing control over the ball..what we need is for Newman to bring back the flare he showed in Italy..he has the skills to be an alpha scorer but it hasnt materialized yet

Bradley Sitz 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The total lack of intensity both in driving the ball and going for offensive rebounds is troubling. Too many of Tech's offensive boards were obtain by their guards - not their big guy. Too many times the KU players seem to be frozen with poor footwork and positioning. Fundamentally, basketball comes down to which group is willing to battle harder. This year, how many times have you seen anyone take a charge, or dive on the floor, or set a hard pick. Purdue's Keady used to keep two football walk-ons on his squad. He would insert them just to punish the opponents front court. The point is basketball is not supposed to be about just perimeter shooting. You are supposed to want to control the backboards and punish your opponents. The good news is that OSU and ISU are rebuilding this year. So, KU still has potential road wins to make up for this home loss. But, KU players need to come with more fire and purpose and not simply expect to win on back cuts, dunks and three point shooting. They need to get mean on offense, aggressive on defense, and get to the free throw line.

Jerry Rockhold 9 months, 2 weeks ago

So to put some recent historical perspective on how we got to this point...

The basketball equivalent of a "perfect storm" has occurred.

Highly-touted 6-9 Carlton Bragg washed out & transferred. 6-9 Dwight Coleby transferred as well. Transfers 6-10 Evan Maxwell and 6-9 Jack Whitman also left.

Imagine the difference in the current team with one or two of these players staying, especially a proven player such as Coleby playing the high post with Doke down low. It appears that maybe the common denominator in such an attrition/mass exodus was a possible lack of playing time. Pretty ironic, since it is painfully apparent how much we need more size & depth inside.

Another important consideration is to compare our current roster with recent previous year's teams. We have no likely NBA Lottery or 1st round picks with Doke & Graham coming the closest & they both will need to improve significantly. No Frank Mason, no Josh Jackson in either talent or "alpha dog" mentality. We rely way too much on the risky proposition of 3-pt, shots without any consistent inside presence, lock-down defense, rim defender, dominant rebounding or even just an overall team toughness or "want to."

We absolutely need to find a dependable ball-handling 2nd guard to help out Devonte, maybe Cunliffe can develop because Malik seems lost right now. And as we all know, we have to get Silvio & Billy on the floor asap.

My final takeaway faced with all this? This current KU team is not last year's team & will have to find a way to overcome their obvious shortcomings. I'm hopeful we'll be much better in February and especially by the time March Madness rolls around. It we do overcome & improve dramatically, this may well be Bill Self's best coaching job since taking over at KU.

Stay tuned.

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