The Texas Tech men’s basketball team picked up its second win of the season in Big 12 Conference play when it hosted Iowa State on Wednesday night, winning 56-51.
“They were definitely the better team tonight,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Iowa State came into the game averaging 75.8 points per contest, but Tech only allowed 51 points to the Cyclones on Wednesday.
“That was a big win,” Tech freshman guard Josh Gray said. “I had never won like that before in my life.”
Coming off a four-game losing streak, the Red Raiders did not let their previous games dictate their play, shooting nearly 40 percent from the field after having only shot 28 percent the previous game against Oklahoma State.
Gray led all scorers on the afternoon with 16 points, a season high.
“(Gray) can make some plays that other guys on the team can’t,” Tech coach Chris Walker said.
Even Hoiberg had high praise for the young guard, noting Gray has a chance to be a good player.
During the first half, Tech limited Iowa State’s leading scorer, senior guard Will Clyburn, to three points.
The Red Raiders and Cyclones came out with a fierce tenacity as both sides often threw extra elbows.
Walker said the win was attributed to a positive attitude expressed by his players.
“The No. 1 thing we can control is our attitude, and that’s what we did tonight,” Walker said. “I’m proud of our guys.”
Iowa State’s main focus of attack has been 3-pointers up to this point in the season. However, the Cyclones only shot 6-23 from behind the 3-point line on the night because of a strong perimeter defense from the Red Raiders.
Unlike some of its other matchups, Tech was not at a size disadvantage against Iowa State. Early on, the Red Raiders exploited this by playing junior forward Dejan Kravic inside the paint. He scored eight points in the first half.
Against Iowa State, Tech used its size to an advantage, outrebounding the Cyclones 38-29.
“It’s a great feeling,” sophomore forward Jordan Tolbert said. “We need to get more wins like that.”
Building off the win over a strong Iowa State team, Tech will hope to keep momentum going as they prepare for their next game.
“We proved that we can play against a quality opponent and win a game,” Walker said.
The Red Raiders will look to keep their current win streak alive when they travel to Austin to face the Texas Longhorns who are currently winless in conference play. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. Saturday.