LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 13-ranked Texas Tech extended its non-conference home winning streak to 43 games with a 65-47 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday at the United Supermarkets Arena by limiting the Golden Lions to 32.6 percent shooting and forcing 20 turnovers.
The Red Raiders (8-0) are now 5-0 on their home court this season, limited an opponent to under 50 points for the third time this season and are unbeaten through eight games for the third time in program history. UAPB (2-6) made only 14 shots in the game and saw Martaveous McKnight score 27 of their 47 points. Texas Tech has now won all eight of its games this season by double digits and remain one of only 11 teams in the nation still unbeaten. TTU led the nation coming into the game by limiting opponents to 33.8 percent shooting this season, a number that dropped to 33.7 percent after another stifling night on the defensive side of the court.
Jarrett Culver led Texas Tech with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the game, while Matt Mooneywent for 11 points and led the team with five assists. Kyler Edwards scored in double-figures for the third time this season after adding 10 points and Tariq Owens and Davide Moretti each finished with nine points. Norense Odiase added six rebounds and five points and Deshawn Corprew had five rebounds for the Red Raiders who had a 41-30 rebounding advantage.
"We played against zone for 40 minutes tonight," Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. "We just have to hit shots. On nights where you don't hit shots you have to manufacture some offense out of offensive rebounds. I thought we could have done a lot better job on the glass, and you have to get to the free throw line so I give Pine Bluff a lot of credit. They slowed the game down with zone, we weren't hitting shots, and then we really weren't creating much offense with our defense."
Texas Tech earned the 18-point win despite a season-low 41.9 shooting percentage from the field and going 3-for-15 on 3-pointers. The Red Raiders were only 1-for-4 on 3-pointers in the second half, but dominated with a 36-14 scoring advantage in the paint and had a 27-10 points off turnover advantage. Moretti and Mooney each had one 3-pointers in the first half before Edwards hit one in the second. The three 3-pointers were the fewest for the Red Raiders this season, but defensively the 20 turnovers forced were the second most as the team has had this season behind only 29 in the season-opening win over Incarnate Word.
McKnight, who came into the game averaging 25.0 points per game, shot 9-for-18 with three 3-pointers. He would also go 6-for-6 from the free-throw line and had seven rebounds. The rest of the Golden Lions would go 5-for-25 in the game against the Red Raider defense.
Moretti led Texas Tech at halftime with nine points after going 4-for-6 from the field, while Culver had eight points and five rebounds. The Red Raiders shot 45.2 percent from the field in the opening half, including Mooney knocking down three shots and scoring seven points. Mooney scored the first basket of the game on the opening possession and would also knock down a 3-pointer to give the Red Raiders an early 10-3 lead after Moretti had scored five in a row. TTU, which owned a 7-0 scoring advantage off the bench, went on a 6-0 run late in the first half to take a 35-21 lead before the Golden Lions scored the final four points to cut their deficit to 10 after 20 minutes.
The Red Raiders have now held opponents to under 30 points in the first half in four of eight games this season.
Texas Tech will return to action at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12 against Northwestern State at the USA followed by its Throwback Game against Abilene Christian on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. The Red Raiders and Wildcats will play the final basketball game in the coliseum before TTU travels to New York to play Duke on Thursday, Dec. 20 at Madison Square Garden.
On the team's effort to get open and get shots up:
"We played against zone for 40 minutes tonight. We got the ball in the middle some, we got to the free throw line many times. We just have to hit shots. On nights where you don't hit shots you have to manufacture some offense out of offensive rebounds. I thought we could have done a lot better job on the glass, and you have to get to the free throw line so I give Pine Bluff a lot of credit. They slowed the game down with zone, we weren't hitting shots, and then we really weren't creating much offense with our defense. We let their best player get hot. At times in the second half when we started to separate a little bit, we started getting rebounds and running before they could set up their zone and we had some success there. It's not just the players, I take responsibility for this too. The coaching staff has to figure this out, and we just have to play better"
On what allowed for the run in the second half:
"When they made their run and we had a couple of turnovers and turnovers make it really hard to play transition defense. In pro basketball after a turnover you just foul in the middle of the floor and I've always thought about doing that in college basketball, we have just never done it. I'm not sure why, maybe we will do that in the next game."
On the players bringing momentum to the game:
"I thought Norense played well in the second half, he gave us a spark. Norense is the most vocal guy in the locker room right now, he is a real leader and I thought he played great at times tonight. Without watching the film on Culver, I just think there is another level to Jarrett's game, him and I both agree with that. We aren't just looking for good we are looking for great, him and I share the expectations for him personally and for our program. Effort is never really a problem with Culver, we have to do a better job coaching to put him in situations where he can get some more shots, and that's on me."
On the team's shot selection on Wednesday against the Golden Lions:
"Like I said, from my naked-eye, without watching film yet, I think we shot 15 three-point shots tonight. Twelve or 13 of them were good shots. If Moretti, Matt, Culver or Brandone get wide open shots, I want them to take them. Brandone Francis is a green light guy, he will never go 0-for-6 again. It's just basketball. But, Brandone made some good passes and had a zero turnover game again I believe. He made some plays on defense as well. Shooting is just one part of basketball. On nights where you're not making shots, you have to pick up other areas of your game and that is where my frustration was tonight. I didn't see our defense pick up, our lack of shooting and I didn't see offensive rebounds. Just pick up our lack of making shots. That is something we need to get fixed."