Texas Tech falls 83-76 to Creighton in overtime

Red Raider Nation

Photo courtesy of KLBK-KAMC’s Jason Davis.

LAS VEGAS — After two losses and an injury to Jahmi’us Ramsey, Texas Tech is hoping that what happened in Vegas, stays in Vegas. 

The Red Raiders lost their second game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, falling 83-76 to Creighton in overtime.

Texas Tech used a wild run to come back from an 18-point deficit to force overtime. After a dismal first half, the Red Raiders played an energetic brand of basketball, getting into transition for easy baskets and playing solid defense.

The game went to overtime after Davide Moretti was tied up on a last second shot, and the referees opted not to call a foul.

In overtime, the game slowed down and Texas Tech settled for too many jumpshots. They didn’t fall, and Creighton used a combination of shotmaking and offensive rebounding to put away the Red Raiders.

Texas Tech’s offense could get nothing going in the first half. The team settled for jumpshots on a majority of its possessions, and they didn’t often go in. They shot a frosty 2-for-13 from 3 in the first half. 

A big reason for that was Ramsey’s absence. He missed Friday’s game after sustaining an injury against Iowa on Thursday. The Red Raiders sorely missed the freshman’s shot creation. 

Another issue with Texas Tech’s offense was a no-show from T.J. Holyfield. After lighting it up in the first two games of the season, Holyfield has faced foul trouble in recent games. He only took one shot Friday night. 

On the other end of the floor, Creighton seemingly couldn’t miss in the first half. The Blue Jays made eight of 14 first half 3s, and climbed to an 18-point lead. Defensively, Texas Tech gave Creighton’s sweet shooting backcourt too much space. The trigger-happy Blue Jays only need a sliver of space to launch a shot, and Texas Tech gave that to them too often. 

After shooting 3-16 against San Diego State Thursday night, Blue Jay point guard Marcus Zegarowski went nuclear against the Red Raiders, scoring a game high 32 points. Zegarowski shook Avery Benson for a critical overtime basket.

In the second half, Texas Tech mounted a comeback by jumping the tempo to a more fast paced style. The Red Raiders pushed the ball and were able to outrun the Blue Jays into some easy buckets. 

The Red Raiders got an unexpected spark from Andrei Savrasov. The seldom-used freshman hadn’t scored on the season coming into Friday’s game, but hit two huge 3-pointers in the second half to pull Texas Tech out of a scoring drought.

Savrasov’s second 3-pointer jumpstarted a 21-5 run that tied the game for Texas Tech.

Another key to Texas Tech’s run was a change in defensive scheme. Chris Beard normally runs a man-to-man defense, but switched to zone after Creighton’s backcourt shredded the Red Raiders in the first half. Texas Tech executed the zone well, getting out on shooters and helping on drives.

Chris Clarke was outstanding in the run, bullying his way to baskets and passing with his usual craft. He finished the night with 17 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

Ultimately, the late run wasn’t enough. Texas Tech has started slow often this season, and will not be able to sustain itself on second half runs against tough competition.

When Ramsey comes back, this team can still be dangerous. Right now, it needs to figure out what it is on the offensive end as tough games against Depaul and Louisville loom.

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