The Red Raiders faced an unique test Saturday against the uptempo Savannah State Tigers. In the end, Texas Tech passed with flying colors winning big 103-69. The win moves Texas Tech to 6-0 on the year and extends their home winning streak against non-conference opponents to 33 games.
Pace was the story of the first half as the Tigers tempo dictated play. The frantic up and down style saw Texas Tech turn it over 10 times and routinely settle for quick outside shots. This allowed Savannah State to hang around in the game despite only shooting a poor percentage from the field.
Coach Beard had his crew make the necessary adjustments, and Texas Tech settled down. They only turned the ball over once in the second half to dominate down the stretch. At one point, the lead swelled all the way to 88-46. It was garbage time from there on out as the Red Raiders coasted to the finish. There was plenty from this game to add to the highlight reels, and somewhere Zhaire Smith is still dunking.
Zhaire again! going over in style. #WreckEm #4To1 #SCTop10 pic.twitter.com/AnyVG1uSrA— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) November 25, 2017
The 103 points is the highest output from the Texas Tech scoring attack this season. Surprisingly absent from the score sheet was Keenan Evans who went 0-8 from the field. This ends Evans’ streak of 25 straight games of scoring in double digits. Despite his struggles, Evans’ teammates were there to pick up the slack. The offense once again featured standout freshman Jarrett Culver, who knocked down 3 shots from beyond the arc on his way to 18 points. Senior Niam Stevenson and another freshman Zhaire Smith also poured in 18 and 17 points, respectively. 8 other Red Raiders also scored to round out a well-balanced effort.
Despite giving up 69 points, the most allowed this season, Texas Tech’s defensive effort was still impressive. They held the Tigers to 35.9% shooting from the field and an even worse 24.4% from three point land. Also notable from the defense were the 16 forced turnovers and a +19 edge in rebounds.
Up next for the Red Raiders will be a trip to the mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden, where they will match up with Big East foe Seton Hall on November 30th. It’s one of the few opportunities for Texas Tech to build on their NCAA tournament resume before conference play begins.