The men’s basketball team hopes to maintain its perfect record as it hits the road for its first road game tonight against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.Last week, Neil Dougherty’s club celebrated their fourth straight win to start off the season with a 99-67 win against Grambling State, but Dougherty said Wednesday’s game at Texas Tech will be a new challenge for the team.
“Whenever you start your first road trip of the season, you have anxieties about how you’re going to handle certain things,” he said. “We have to go through this process and see how we’re going to perform on the road away from Daniel-Meyer (Coliseum).”
Dougherty said facing the Red Raiders is a bigger challenge than playing the first game on the road because the team can grow accustomed to road games over time. Once the squad plays its first road game, Dougherty said, it will learn how to adjust to making road trips.
But he said it is still important for the Horned Frogs to play well consistently whether they are at home or away. Even with older players on the team, he said, the team is different every year, and players need to get a feel for the new group, especially on the road.
Dougherty said he wants his players to work on playing more aggressively in the paint and guarding opponents without drawing the foul.
“Tech’s one of those teams that spreads you and attacks you hard off the dribble,” Dougherty said. “You have to be able to guard the ball and keep them off the free-throw line.”
The combination of the Red Raiders’ speed, athleticism and good coaching also make them a very tough opponent, he said.
Junior guard Henry Salter said he feels the team is ready and has been playing well in the practices leading up to tonight’s showdown.
“I’m really excited for the team,” he said. “We’re 4-0, and I want to continue on winning games.”
Salter said the team needs to focus on following Dougherty’s instructions, correcting mistakes and playing “with a team chemistry.”
Although the Frogs have room for improvement in their athletic performance, their strongest point is their depth, Dougherty said.
In every game, Dougherty said, there are different players who play well and are able to put significant point totals in the stat sheet any given game.
“If we can continue to get that kind of contribution from all over our roster, then we become a very hard team to prepare for,” he said. “Our strength is in numbers.