STEVENS: Lobos Fall 65-55 to Texas Tech Red Raiders
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/05/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 5, 2009

Final Stats

Saturday: Texas Tech 65, Lobos 55
Up Next: Lobos at Arizona, 6 p.m., Wednesday (Dec. 9)

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The New Mexico Lobos fell behind 48-31 near the halfway mark of the second half and could never climb out of that hole as they lost 65-55 Saturday afternoon to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock, Texas.

UNM got a good effort off the bench from 6-foot-6 Valerie Kast, got an aggressive 14 points from Amanda Best, and frustrated Tech at times with a nasty zone. But the quick and balanced Raiders scored too many times on drives and off transition buckets and handed the Lobos their third loss of the season.

When Tech raced to a 57-39 lead with under five minutes to play, it was clear the Lobos would have to throw out a huge and quick rally. They almost did it, pulling to 57-50 with 2:20 to play.

But the Lobos missed too many shots down the stretch and Tech did enough work at the free-throw line to raise it's record to 8-1 on the season.

The Lobos will take a 5-3 mark to Arizona on Wednesday.

The Lobos had only two players in double figures: Best with 14 and Kast with 10 points, all in the first half.

"We got a little too tentative with our decision making and our aggression," said Lobo coach Don Flanagan, who said his Lobos waited until the final five minutes to play at a high level of aggression.

"Our shooting percentage was not good. When you shoot 15 times more than the other team, you ought to beat them. We had opportunities. I thought we did a decent job late of coming back aggressive and getting back in the game.

"I thought Amanda Best played well. I thought Valerie Kast played outstanding. That was her best game to date. She brought us back in the first half."

Flanagan said he was happy with most of the game stats, but not his team's shooting on the floor or at the free-throw line. "We want to shoot better on the road," said Flanagan.

UNM shot 34.9 percent from the floor against Tech, 26.7 percent from the 3-point line and 53.8 percent from the free-throw line. Tech shot 45.8 percent from the floor and 72.7 percent from the free-throw line. Tech went 16-of-22 from the line to 7-of-13 for UNM.

Jordan Murphree led Tech with 20 points and Ashlee Roberson had 11 and 13 rebounds.

Second Half

Tech came out of the half up 29-22 and quickly ran to a 33-22 lead, scoring twice in transition. Sara Halasz got her first bucket of the game to make it 33-24 and Jessica Kielpinski added a free throw to cut the UNM gap to 33-25.

Tech got a trey followed by a Lauren Taylor trey to make it 36-28 going into the first media break of the second half at 15:57.

Kast, who scored 10 points in the first half, came back into the game. Raider Ashlee Roberson banged in a trey to push Tech up 39-28. Tech was now in a zone and Taylor burned the zone with a 3-pointer: 39-31.

Martin got fouled underneath by Kast and pushed in the two free throws: 41-31. Tech then got a trey from Jordan Murphree to advance the Raiders lead to 44-31 and Flanagan called a timeout.

Tech got a steal and Murphree was fouled on a drive. She made one 45-31, but Tech got the rebound and added a trey to make it 48-31. Best scored for UNM to cut it to 48-33. The second media timeout of the half had the Lobos down by 15 points, 48-33. Best drilled a 12-foot jumper to make it 48-35 (13). Kast picked up her fourth foul sending Murphree to the line. The Raider made one: 49-35. Kielpinski layup: 49-37 (12). Murphree went back to the line off a Kielpinski foul. The Raider made two this time to bump up Tech into a 51-37 lead.

Tech scored again in transition and surged back up 53-37. Best cut into that gap with a jumper: 53-39 (14). Murphree scored on a drive and Tech was back up by 16: 55-39. A UNM turnover led to a Roberson layup and it was 57-39 -- 18 points with under five minutes to play.

Best drove and scored again to cut Tech's lead to 57-41. The Lobos were running out of time and needed a huge and quick run. Halasz rolled in two free throws to make it 57-43. Kielpinski hit a short jumper to make it 57-45. Tech turned the ball over on a walk.

UNM made it interesting when Halasz threw in a short shot to cut Tech's lead to 57-47. Tech missed inside and UNM's Georonika Jackson went to the line and cut the Tech lead to 57-48. Tech turned the ball over again and Kielpinski scored inside: 57-50. The Lobos were making a run and Tech called a timeout.

UNM sent Smalls, a freshman to the line, for a one-and-one. The Tech pup, a 58 percent shooter at the line, made the front end and missed the second: 58-50. The Lobos turned the ball over. Tech turned the ball over. Kast missed inside and Tech was back on the line with 1:16 to play.

Murphree made both ends of the one-and-one. The scoreboard rolled into a 60-50 Tech lead and that was the game. Tech pulled in for the 65-55 win.

First Half -- Texas Tech 29, Lobos 22

The Red Raiders threatened to run away from the Lobos early as the quick Raiders repeatedly burned the UNM man-to-man defense for easy buckets. Tech went up 24-14 and was shooting 78 percent, thanks to a whole lot of layups.

The Lobos got back into the half with a combination of Kast and a zone defense. Kast scored ten points in the first half and Beggin added six points.

Tech quickly ran to leads of 11-5 and 17-7 before Flanagan called a timeout after watching his defense get burned by back-to-back Tech layups. Tech got the first bucket after the break, another layup to jump up 19-7. Beggin finally got the Lobos back on the board with a long trey to make it 19-10.

Flanagan was forced to pull his Lobos out of their man defense and went into an aggressive zone. A short Kast shot make it 19-12 before Martin got Tech off that 19 mark with an inside bucket. Martin added a free throw off a Kast foul and it was 22-12 in Tech's favor.

Then Kast took over. The 6-foot-6 senior scored four buckets and also worked in an assist to a cutting Porche Torrance to pull the Lobos to 24-22. The combination of Kast and the Lobo zone had slowed the Red Raiders down.

At the 3:59 timeout, a Tech trey make it 27-22. Kast had 10 points. Tech continued to struggle against the UNM zone. Tech finally got into a transition situation and Smalls scored a layup to make it 29-22 in Tech`s favor. That score held up going into the half.

Tech needed to either figure out the UNM zone or find a way to get more transition buckets. The Lobos needed to get a few more Lobos to help Kast with the scoring.