For the Texas Tech basketball team, the moment is finally here. The season opener against Prairie View A&M is 8 p.m. Friday and the team is preparing for an exciting start.
The team played an exhibition game against UT-Permian Basin on Nov. 1, where they beat the Falcons 88-63, in what Tech coach Chris Walker called a B-minus effort from his team.
Overall, the team played well during the first half, he said, but during the second half, there were some mistakes.
“We got 18 steals and forced 26 turnovers,” Walker said. “I think the pressure defense picked up, and we had a number of turnovers in the second half. The effort was there. We just have to clean up some details.”
The team is using the exhibition game as a learning experience for the opener against Prairie View, he said. Prairie View is picked to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference this year, so Tech is preparing for them to come out and play hard.
“We have to make sure we take care of our business — play together hard, smart and with pride,” he said.
Redshirt junior forward Dejan Kravic said his focus this game is to be more aggressive and to rebound the ball more.
Kravic finished the game against Permian Basin with a team-high 16 points and six rebounds. Kravic and freshman guard Josh Gray led the team in playing time with 22 minutes.
“Personally, I think I could have done a better job of rebounding and just being more active in general,” Kravic said.
The goal is to improve game by game, and if the team can do that, they can be dangerous competition once conference games start, he said.
The team chemistry has improved, Kravic said, which comes with practice and competing against one another.
“We’re getting really cohesive game by game,” he said.
During the previous game, the team had three turnovers in the first half, but had more in the second, redshirt junior forward Kader Tapsoba said. The team wants to work on lessening them, he said.
“Other than turnovers, something (Walker) has been emphasizing the whole time is to play together, so we’re in the building process of that,” Tapsoba said.
The team is focused, he said, and everyone is stepping up because the season is here.
The only thing Tech is focusing on is the upcoming game against Prairie View, Walker said.
“We play hard,” Walker said. “We play together. We play smart and we play with pride. The biggest game on (the) schedule is always the next game for us. We take them one at a time.”
Walker has the mindset of wanting to compete every single game and be successful in what they do, he said.
“The focus for me is the journey,” he said. “The focus is the game plan. I put all of my energy in that and on my guys, and when we do that, winning becomes a byproduct.”
There is still a lot of learning, Walker said, but he has confidence in his team’s abilities.
“There’s no such thing as luck. There’s only cause and effect,” he said. “We go out, we do our jobs and we perform. There’s nothing to be nervous about.”