Twelfth-ranked Texas Tech will look to bounce back from its worst performance of the season when it squares off against Creighton on Friday in the third-place game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena.
The Red Raiders (5-1) fell into the losers’ bracket after an uninspiring 72-61 loss to Iowa in Thursday’s semifinal.
Chris Clarke led the Red Raiders with 11 points, with TJ Holyfield and Kyler Edwards scoring 10 points each. Jahmi’us Ramsey, who had led Texas Tech in scoring in three of its first five games, had just 7 points on 3 of 11 shooting.
It was Texas Tech’s first loss of the season after five dominating wins, and Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said afterward that his team has a responsibility to play hard as the “hunted.”
“We didn’t play well at all against Iowa,” Beard said afterward. “We have got to understand the responsibility when you’re the hunted. We’ve been the hunter around here for a long time. There’s a responsibility to show for each night as hard as you can, that was the problem in the first half. So it was an effort thing.
“Our young team is starting to understand that they’ve got to bring it each night. We played really hard in the second half but the 10-point deficit at halftime was just too much to overcome.”
Iowa led throughout and by as many as 15 points, but by just 61-59 after two free throws by Texas Tech’s Terrence Shannon with 1:58 to play. But a 3-pointer off an offensive rebound pushed the advantage back to five points, and the Red Raiders never recovered.
Both teams will have little rest for the third-place game, which will be held after the tournament’s championship contest on Friday.
“You know you gotta get some rest but at the same time you feel the urgency to prepare,” Beard said. “With our team with these young guys, we’re gonna have to really make sure they get their legs back tonight and understand it’s, you know, ‘next play’ mentality. We gotta bounce back and try to play some better cleaner basketball.”
The Bluejays were dropped to the third-place game when they were waylaid by undefeated San Diego State 83-52 late Thursday.
Mitch Ballock led Creighton (4-2) with 12 points and Shereef Mitchell added 10 but no other Bluejays player reached double figures in the near-walkover for San Diego State.
Creighton lives and dies by the long-distance shot and began play at the Las Vegas Invitational with three players — Ty-Shon Alexander, Ballock and Marcus Zegarowski — ranked in the top 50 in 3-point shooting percentage.
But the Bluejays struggled from beyond the arc Thursday, hitting just 4 of 23 from 3-point range, 1 of 11 in the second half. Alexander, Ballock and Zegarowski combined to go 4 of 20 from downtown.
“That’s one of the challenges we have,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott told the Omaha World-Herald. “We don’t get a lot of easy baskets. We rely on some jump shots. The odds would tell you that’s a hard way to live, but fortunately we’ve got some elite guys that can really shoot it.”
–Field Level Media