Texas Tech showed first-year coach Grant McCasland there is enough to work with Wednesday in a season-opening victory.
The Red Raiders (1-0) are back in action with more to work on Sunday when San Jose State (2-0) visits Lubbock, Texas.
In a 73-46 romp against Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas Tech showed deficiencies over the final 20 minutes, particularly on offense. It became a topic of discussion during a late huddle.
“I told them in the last time-out, ‘Pushing the ball in pace isn’t about scoring on every one of them; it’s honestly about a battle of maintaining a level of physicality,'” McCasland said of a spirited one-way chat. “You look at our team, we’ve got a good team. We’ve got versatile guys.”
Versatile didn’t equate to shot making, though. The Red Raiders shot a cool 38.5 percent (10 of 26) after halftime and missed 9-of-10 from 3-point range.
Pop Isaacs led Texas Tech with 19 points in the first game of his sophomore season, but his night was emblematic of the up-and-down performance. He scored 12 in the first half and went ice-cold after that, finishing 5 of 15 from the field and 2 of 7 from 3-point territory.
The Red Raiders were 5 of 23 from beyond the arc (21.7 percent) in their opener and turned the ball over 18 times.
That won’t be a great recipe against the Spartans under the direction of former Nebraska coach Tim Miles.
San Jose State owns wins against UC Irvine and Bethesda, while showing a knack for moving the ball well on offense and defending well, particularly around the 3-point line.
With Turkey native Tibet Gorener setting the pace with 21.5 points a game, the Spartans have clicked on offense: They shoot 53.6 percent as a team, 35.3 percent from 3-point range (18 of 51) and have dished out 41 assists on 67 made field goals.
The Spartans’ first two foes have connected on only 11 3-pointers in 38 tries (28.9 percent) and San Jose State has outrebounded both by an average of 78-55.
Miles, in his third season after lengthy stints at Nebraska and Colorado State, credits his team for absorbing game plans for their early success.
“We’re not good enough to beat anybody by just going through the motions,” said Miles, who steered the Spartans to a 21-14 record last season, the program’s best since 1980-81. “We have to be a great game-plan team. If we don’t buy into defense, we’ve got a big problem and so far, our guys have really taken what we give them and made it work.”
–Field Level Media
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