Men’s Basketball: Red Raiders hand team first loss

The Texas Tech men’s basketball team’s inconsistencies could have given TCU a win Tuesday night.Preventing it from happening, the Horned Frogs’ foul troubles and 26 points from Tech guard Martin Zeno pushed the Red Raiders to a 71-58 win at the United Spirit Arena.

“Our guys did a pretty good job of hanging in there,” Texas Tech coach Bob Knight said. “Didn’t look all that when we were 13 points behind. But we came back, I thought, well.”

The Red Raiders (5-2) showed their flaws in the first half, but kept the score close.

The Horned Frogs (4-1) used a full-court press to force four straight turnovers from the Red Raiders.

TCU scored six points off those turnovers, giving them a 14-8 lead midway through the first half.

“It was pretty physical, but it was to be expected,” junior forward Kevin Langford said. “It was a good test for us.”

After forcing four straight turnovers, a basket by junior guard Henry Salter helped the Horned Frogs to a 9-0 run.

Although TCU held a lead in the first half, TCU’s eight fouls with 7:22 left gave the Red Raiders chances to climb back into the game.

“It was a factor,” head coach Neil Dougherty said of his team’s early foul trouble. “That’s not everything that did us in – a pretty good Tech team did us in tonight. The foul trouble can throw you out of sync. Texas Tech did us in.”

A three-pointer by senior guard Ryan Wall and a basket by sophomore guard Keion Mitchem gave the Horned Frogs a solid 35-29 lead going into halftime.

The Horned Frogs showed no signs of slowing down, grabbing a 43-35 lead to start the second half.

Tech’s only production to start the second half came from Zeno, allowing TCU to take its largest lead of the game by 13.

Tech eventually got a spark from Red Raider junior guard Alan Voskuil, including some key three-pointers, bringing the Red Raiders close to the Horned Frogs. A basket by Tech junior forward Ricardo De Bem cut the Horned Frogs’ lead to two, giving Tech a chance to overcome the deficit.

Zeno gave Tech its first lead of the half with 8:08 remaining in the game, on his way to scoring 20 points in the half.

“I haven’t been playing the way that I wanted to be playing these last couple games,” he said. “I felt that tonight was my night to step up and play when we (were) down in the second half.”

The Horned Frogs found themselves in foul trouble once again, receiving their 10th team foul with six minutes left in the game.

Tech capitalized on TCU’s foul trouble by making 75 percent of its free throws, and Voskuil hit another three-pointer to take the lead for good midway through the second half.

Knight said there was no way he could expect his team to overcome its mistakes and take the win.

“If I could sense that, I’d be with George Bush tonight trying to figure out what the hell to do in Iraq,” he said. “How can you sense anything like that? You’d have to be smarter than I am. We just made some changes, we made some little adjustments in what we were trying to do and we got better movement in our offense.