The Texas Tech men’s basketball season is underway, with its second game tipping off at 7 p.m. tonight against Nebraska-Omaha in United Spirit Arena.
The Red Raiders opened their season Friday night with an 89-79 victory against Prairie View A&M.
Tech coach Chris Walker was pleased with the team’s effort Friday night, he said, but the team needs to be more aggressive with offensive rebounding and not giving up second shots.
Tech had a lead in the first half, then gave it up, he said, because they were more careless with the ball — a byproduct of the team’s youth.
The biggest area of improvement for the team is turnovers, freshman guard Toddrick Gotcher said.
Gotcher had eight points and two rebounds against Texas-Permian Basin.
“We are doing much better this year,” Gotcher said, “but we need to protect the ball more.”
Sometimes the fast-paced game can result in turnovers, but the team plans to continue playing an up-tempo style of basketball tonight, Walker said.
“We play fast,” he said. “We have guys who can create their own shot. That makes you unpredictable. I believe in unpredictable actions.”
Tech has five players who can create their own shot, Walker said, which is a luxury.
“If you have those guys, it makes you a harder team to defend,” he said. “We have a lot of structure, too, but we haven’t been able to use it a lot because teams have played a lot of zone.”
The coaching staff anticipates teams, like University of Nebraska at Omaha, coming at Tech playing zone defense going forward, he said.
“The game plan is simple,” he said. “We play hard. We play together. We play smart, and we play with pride. We play hard for 40 minutes. We’re going to play up-tempo style.”
Sometimes it looks like there is no structure, Walker said, but there is. The Red Raiders are going to try to tire the other team and take advantage of situations by creating turnovers, running up and down the floor and being aggressive every possession.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about how Omaha plays,” Walker said. “It’s about how Texas Tech plays. I am more concerned about our guys and what we’re learning. It doesn’t matter what the other team knows, it only matters what we know about ourselves.”
Walker has been a great leader for the team, Gotcher said.
“He brings energy,” he said. “He brings toughness. He brings leadership and we look up to him. We just want to be the best Texas Tech team at the end of the year. He’s doing a good job of that.”
Junior guard Daylen Robinson has been preparing for the game by listening to Walker and bringing energy.
“We take it more seriously,” Robinson said. “After the first game, we see how good we can be if we all come together and work hard.”
The team needs to be aggressive and play Tech basketball to defeat Omaha, Robinson said.
“If Texas Tech plays Texas Tech basketball better than how Omaha plays Omaha basketball, we have a very good chance of winning the game,” Walker said.