No. 13 Texas Tech, Mississippi St. look to rebound from OT losses

Every loss stings in one method or another, however dropping a video game in overtime as an underdog in among college basketball’s most hostile environments strikes a little in a different way.

That may look like best inspiration for a group the next time out — unless the challenger is grappling with the very same punch-in-the-gut sensation.

Mississippi State check outs 13th-ranked Texas Tech on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Obstacle, and both groups will take the court injured and motivated after they lost in OT at Kentucky and Kansas, respectively, previously today.

And while this midseason match is primarily a top-level exhibit video game — with RPI and strength-of-schedule implications connected — recuperating from those beats is high up on the top priority list for the Bulldogs (13-6) and Red Raiders (15-5).

“You’ve got to try to look at the ability to learn from games like these,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland stated after his team rallied from a 16-point, second-half deficit to require OT vs. the 12th-ranked Wildcats, who dominated 82-74 after the additional session.

“We’re going to have more games like these,” Howland included. “We’ve got a lot of tough road games ahead, including one against one of the best teams in the country on Saturday at Texas Tech. Hopefully, our guys learn from it. One of the biggest things is mental toughness. You’ve got to be mentally tough especially in an environment like (Kentucky) when it’s us against the world.

“I believe remaining in this environment and seeing that we had fantastic chances motivated our men. I hope they saw it and are encouraged by it moving forward.”

Bulldogs junior guard Iverson Molinar certainly played with motivation against the Wildcats with a career-high 30 points, 22 in the second half. Backcourt mate Shakeel Moore was also a key with three 3-pointers.

“Everybody wishes to have momentum to get ready for the next video game,” Molinar said. “We lost (Tuesday), however we’re going to gain from this, perform and come out much better in the next video game.”

Texas Tech is relying on a similar mantra — not just in regard to Saturday but the rest of the season.

The Red Raiders rallied from a 12-point deficit against the fifth-ranked Jayhawks and held leads in both overtimes but couldn’t slam the door.

Kansas star Ochai Agbaji forced the second OT with a clutch 3-pointer, and the Jayhawks solved Texas Tech’s sticky defense enough to erase a five-point lead late in the first extra period.

“I believed we stood toe to toe with them,” first-year Red Raiders coach Mark Adams said. “We dug a hole for us, numerous times. At halftime, we lagged and got back at further behind with about 10 (minutes) to go however returned. … I believed we were going to win it because very first overtime.”

Like Molinar, Texas Tech senior Bryson Williams delivered a career-best outing with 33 points by hitting 14 of 19 field-goal attempts.

“I have actually got colleagues that think in me,” Williams said. “I have actually got a training personnel that thinks in me. And I simply came out to be aggressive and simply attempt to do whatever I can to assist this group win.”

Letting that chance slip away is a lingering hurt but also could double as a nice building block.

“It leaves a pit of fire in our stomach we’re simply going to bring throughout the entire season,” Williams said.

The Bulldogs can relate.

After getting to overtime, they made only 1 of 7 shots from the floor and managed only two points in the bonus five minutes.

“We have actually simply got to gain from this and recover,” Howland said. “I believe remaining in this environment and seeing that we had fantastic chances motivated our men. I hope they saw it and are encouraged by it moving forward.”

–Field Level Media

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.