Tech seniors reflect on adversity at last home game

Tech seniors reflect on adversity at last home game

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Tech hoops defeated Texas in its final home game of the season, sweeping the Longhorns for the first time since 1996. Big 12 title aspirations were overshadowed by the five Red Raiders playing their last game at the USA. Norense Odiase, Tariq Owens, Matt Mooney, Brandone Francis and Andrew Sorrells were honored before the game 

Mooney and Owens, graduate transfers, both have made big impacts this season. And Brandone Francis was surprised by his mother a few hours before tipoff. She lives in the Dominican Republic, and was able to get issues with her Visa worked out to see her son play. He hasn't seen her in more than two years. 

"It was very special, I was trying to not think about it as much but, you know, it's my mom and I haven't seen here in a long time," Francis said.  "I can't thank the coach and the Texas Tech staff enough and everyone for making it happen. It was very very special."

The NCAA allowed Tech to help fund his mother's trip. 

 "The NCAA gives us the opportunity to help some families and parents come to senior night based on different factors," head coach Chris Beard said. "This is a great rule that we executed and it was pretty cool." 

It's been a long journey for redshirt senior Norense Odiase. His collegiate basketball career started in 2014. Other issues through his time as a Red Raider pale in comparison to the adversity of losing two cousins. They died in a car crash near Lubbock a few weeks ago. 

 "There have been so many letters, so many people have written me letters and have sent me thank yous," Odiase said. "All I can do is express my gratitude and tell them how thankful I am. I try to reach out to everyone who sent out letters but I am telling you that I appreciate it in more ways than I can express."

Chris Beard said the day was emotional, but went on to say how this team is far from done. 

"I've coached a few teams where you're only guaranteed one more game after something like this but the exciting thing about this group is we intend to be together for a long time. We intend on having a really great March and also intend on playing in April," Beard said. 

With a win Saturday in Ames over Iowa State it will clinch at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title, which will be a program first for Texas Tech. 

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