Postgame Quotes: Texas Tech 76, Houston Baptist 61

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Texas Tech vs. Houston Baptist University
Postgame Quotes

Tubby Smith, Texas Tech Head Coach

Opening statement:
We’re happy to get this first win and get this season underway; it was an exciting night. We did some good things and we did some not so good things, but that’s why it’s the first game. But I was impressed with our guys energy. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Houston Baptist. Ron Cottrell is an excellent coach and his team competes extremely well.

What did you think of Jordan tonight?
The birthday boy was outstanding, I was happy for him. If we can get that type of effort out of him and keep him out of foul trouble, he’s going to be a special player for us. He set the tone. Right away we got a nice lob to him that kind of got his motor going. He’s always active: 12 rebounds, 16 points, I could take that every game.

Are there any special emotions coaching your first game in a new program?
Every game is different. You get the butterflies every time you coach a game. Or every time you walk on the court in front of the crowd. I was happy there was a good turnout, a lot of energy in the building. It feels good; I was very pleased. I was over at the Student Union today, promoting the game, talking to the kids and a lot of them I saw at the game. I want to thank them for being there—it’s pretty entertaining in the Arena. It’s a nice place to coach, nice place to play.

Are there any special plans to get more fans to the games besides winning?
Winning will be the biggest way, but we’ll keep doing what we’re doing. Just like today. I was with our marketing people and we were over there doing things. Each team and each time we win, I think we’ll see the crowd improve because it is going to be a happening. I just want people to know we’re only going to get better and I think there’s a lot of excitement in this group of young men. In guys like Jaye and Jordan—these are two kids that can play beyond college basketball, so, I hope that people will want to enjoy and watch a good basketball game. We’re going to play an up-tempo style. We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we liked from the outside today, but I can see a lot of potential in it.

What did you see from the newcomers tonight?
They all have been playing well. Rob’s done an excellent job. He could get a few more assist, but I thought he did a good job.  Randy Onwuasor, even though he was zero-for-two, he does some good things. He’s a very coachable kid and understands how to play. Alex—he was impressive with two-for-three and seven rebounds in 12 minutes, that’s pretty good. I thought he really banged inside. He’s probably made the most improvement that anybody on the team since he got here back in June. I’m very impressed with all three of those guys.

Do you think the team has taken a step forward from the Angelo State game?

Yeah, I think they did. I thought Houston Baptist was a more physical team inside. Their guards created problems for us, especially Tyler Russell and his ability to shoot the ball and get to the free-throw line. But the players made the in-game adjustments and that’s what you’re looking for. The only thing I’m really concerned about is we missed a lot of baskets inside. If we could just get Dejan to be a little more poise, a little more strong around the basket, we’ll be ok. We had some fouls that were unnecessary, that put them in the one-on-one early, so that didn’t help either. We’ve got to get our guys playing better defense, playing with their feet better.

Talking about Robert Turner, does he have a mindset of a “distributor” coming from the JUCO ranks or is that something he’s got to change to be a Big XII point guard?

He’s going to have to continue to work on it. A couple times he should’ve passed it when he shot it, but that’s going to come with time. It’s a matter of him learning his teammates and knowing who can get the ball there. But, he’s probably our most talented one-on-one player, he and Jamal Williams. But we need him to score (too) because he’s a good offensive player; tonight we needed more offensive firepower and he’s capable of doing it.

Are you satisfied with the free throws for Tech?

I was disappointed we didn’t get to the free throw line more and I thought we were banging pretty good down inside. But I thought the officials did a good job, it’s everybody’s first game, really. As far as fouls are concerned, we’ve got to score more from the free throw line and that’s something we really have to work on. And I thought 60% after shooting, I think we shot 73% in the last game—we’ve got to do a better job.



Jordan Tolbert, Junior, Forward

What do you like about this roster as opposed to something you’ve been apart of before?
I just like the way we get out and play in transition. They slowed us down in the second half, we weren’t able to get fast break points because we got fouled in the other end.

What went right for you to allow you your double-double tonight?
Just my first instinct was to rebound. I didn’t think about scoring at all. Every time a shot went up I just went opposite inside and tried to get the rebound.

What were some competitive differences between Houston Baptist and Angelo State?
They attacked us. I think Angelo State was a little nervous, but Houston Baptist came out from the jump and attacked us and they just got in the lane and shot shots, they weren’t afraid to take shots. They just came right at us.

50 points down low, how were you able to be so dominant in the paint?
We did a good job of sealing them and our teammates did a good job passing us the ball  and it just worked like that.

How do you think the tempo of the game changed from the first to the second half?
We just started getting fouls consecutively on the defensive end so that really slowed the pace down. It was hard for us to get transition buckets earlier, so it was kind of slow. But once our their guards started penetrating then kicking it out, it made it a little bit easier.

Robert Turner, Junior, Guard

How big of an adjustment has it been with the new hand-check rule?
We’ve just been in practice practicing keeping our hands off, basically just moving our feet. Coach made us put our hands behind our backs the other day in the one-on-one drill just so we could get it instilled in us not to put our hand on the offensive player. It makes us a little less aggressive, but at the same time we’ve got to move our feet and get to the right spot.

Last week the team at 17 turnovers, this week you all had 10, what do you see you guys improved on?
We take care of the ball. Coach is really on us about taking care of the ball and valuing possession, that’s what it’s all about, that’s how you get great shots. The best way to score is to take care of the ball and that’s what we did tonight.

What did Coach Smith say at half time?
We have keys to win every game and we need 35 deflections every game, and that was his pet peeve tonight: we didn’t have enough deflections in the first half. In order to catch up to that 35, we had to be more aggressive and get in the passing lanes a little bit to satisfy him.

What did you think of Jordan’s play tonight?
He’s a man. That’s what I tell him every day, ‘just be a man down there.’ I’ll get you the ball; other teammates will get you the ball and just do your thing. He’s a man down there; he’s a beast.


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