Just a few days removed from an upset of Baylor, which prompted a court-rushing mob scene at United Spirit Arena, Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith knew a letdown on the road against TCU was a possibility.
So before the game he used a golf analogy to put the situation in perspective.
“If you have a birdie and you bogey the next hole you haven’t really validated the birdie,” Smith told his team. “So you have to par the next hole. It’s like playing golf, fellas. If you don’t play well today and build on what we did against Baylor then it’s all for naught.”
The Red Raiders (10-8, 2-3 Big 12) held on for a 60-49 win, giving them their first consecutive league wins since February 2011.
“It’s really big,” said Tech guard Dusty Hannahs, who led the team with 13 points. “It helps the win not look like it was just a coincidence. [The pregame golf speech] was serious, because you come out and lose this game, it doesn’t validate the [Baylor] win, it’s just in the past.”
Smith said it’s human nature to let your guard down after a big win, but was impressed with “our kids’ toughness. They really toughed it out. We knew it would be a game [against TCU].
“That happens after big wins. Prosperity has a way of kind of making you feel better than you probably should,” he said. “We probably weren’t as good as we thought we were against Baylor. So it’s hard. They’re trying to focus, but it’s hard to do.”
Tech on Wednesday plays at West Virginia (10-8, 2-3), which has lost three consecutive games since opening league play with wins at TCU and Texas Tech. The Red Raiders led late in the first meeting before losing in overtime.
Baylor took a two-game losing streak into No. 8 Kansas on Monday night, not exactly the ideal place to snap out of it. After being outplayed and upset at Texas Tech, the Bears (13-4, 1-3) lost a close one at home to Oklahoma. They’ve dropped to No. 24 from No. 12 in The Associated Press Top 25.
“Yeah, but they’re good,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “They’ve got two first-rounders playing on the front line. The guy off the bench, [Rico] Gathers, may be the best offensive rebounder around. I think they’re still very talented. They’ve had a rough week, but we’ve had rough weeks, too. Their schedule hasn’t been easy, either, so they’re a very capable team. Definitely a team that’s still involved in the league race.”