One game after nearly blowing a double digit halftime lead it appeared as if Texas Tech was in danger of doing so yet again facing a desperate TCU team. An 11-0 run by the Horned Frogs brought the game within seven points in the first seven minutes of the second half. Fortunately for Tech there was no Lindy Waters on TCU, and after a few rough possessions the Red Raiders were able to run away from the lifeless Frogs and win 81-66.
TCU managed to get the first points of the game, however the red hot Texas Tech offense was able to quickly blitz the cold Horned Frogs (who at one point were 4-20 from the field) and build a 36-13 lead on a 31-8 run. TCU was eventually able to get the offense going to end the first half on a 12-7 run, however the 25 points was still the lowest first half output of the season for the efficient offense. Jarrett Culver had an outstanding first half, scoring eight points while adding six assists and three rebounds. Tariq Owens went 5-5 from the field to put up ten points of his own.
The second half started poorly for the Red Raiders, with TCU cutting the deficit to seven points on an 11-0 run. A Davide Moretti triple extended the lead back to double digits, and ultimately TCU would never get any closer. An 8-0 run including the Moretti shot brought the lead back up to 15, and the rest of the game would be played with a margin of 12-20 points. JD Miller would hit four consecutive threes (from the same deep left hash location!) to make the final score a respectable 81-66.
Jarrett Culver had 15 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals, which was the 80th time that statline had occurred in D1 basketball over the course of the last decade. Davide Moretti added 15 points of his own on a solid 5-8 from the field. Moretti has shot at least 50% from three in all seven games during this win streak. Tariq Owens added 12 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks. Matt Mooney played a game that would give advanced stat gurus an aneurysm (he shot eight! of his eleven shots from mid-range and had three TOs), however Mooney managed to put up 11 points, six assists, and five boards. Deshawn Corprew put up his highest point total since December with 12 points on 5-6 shooting.
TCU was led by JD Miller, who scored 12 of his 18 points in the final three minutes. Alex Robinson and Kouat Noi put up 17 and 15 points respectively, however the other four players in TCU’s rotation only scored 16 points on 5-18 shooting. TCU went 9-25 from deep, and ultimately scored just over one point per possession.
Player of the Game: Jarrett Culver
As stated earlier Culver’s versatile day was pretty unique in college basketball. Culver did not hit a single three, yet he still managed to look decisively better than any other player on the court. His six first half assists was the highest of any Red Raider in a half this year. His five steals matched a career high, his six rebounds were right at his seasonal average, and he added a block just for good measure. At this point the Lubbock native might be the front runner for the Big 12 player of the year, and he is a virtual lock to be a lottery selection in the NBA draft.
Fans in Lubbock: make sure to send Culver off on a high note. Monday will almost certainly be the last time you see him play in the United Supermarkets Arena.
With that said let’s make tomorrow night’s game against Texas the best atmosphere of the year! Tomorrow will be one of the biggest nights in Texas Tech history. Depending on how Kansas State plays against TCU it could clinch a share of the first Big 12 championship in team history. The game will be a chance to watch the last Tubby Smith recruit finish off his career (Norense Odiase), a chance to show respect to the first player to commit to Chris Beard (Brandone Francis), and a chance to see the final game of Tech’’s most coveted NBA prospect of this millennium. Not to mention the game will be a chance to go 2-0 in a season vs. UT since 1996.