Article Courtesy of Texas Tech , Photos by Between Classes Magazine
MEN’S BASKETBALL DIALS UP 69-48 VICTORY OVER INCARNATE WORD TO IMPROVE TO 6-1
LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech men’s basketball team set the tone with a strong 18 minutes to start the contest and had four players secure double figures en route to a 69-48 victory over Incarnate Word Wednesday at the United Supermarkets Arena.
Texas Tech (6-1) claimed five of its six wins by 20-plus points during the opening month of the season. The Red Raiders captured their 24th consecutive nonconference home win since 2013-14 with 20 of the 24 victories coming by double figures.
“It was a good win,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. “I was happy for the players. Incarnate Word is a team we have a lot of respect for. They had our full attention. In the last year, they won at Nebraska, they won at St. John’s and they had a 2-point lead in Austin against Texas with a minute left so I am pleased for the players to get the victory. I thought defensively tonight we were locked in and playing Texas Tech defense for the most part. A lot of teaching moments from tonight’s game. I was really disappointed at the end of the first half. We were up 24 points, and then we have a 13-point lead at the half. That’s just not acceptable. I liked our balance. Four people in double figures again. The guys were unselfish for the most part. But above all, against a team coached by Coach Burmeister whom I really respect and a team that has really good players, I was pleased that we got the victory.”
Justin Gray shared game-high honors with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He also secured six rebounds and dished out a career-best four assists over his 27 minutes of action.
Shadell Millinghaus returned to double figures with 14 points and knocked down five of his seven shot attempts. He matched his season’s best with seven rebounds coupled with two assists and two steals.
Zach Smith turned in a solid all-around effort with 13 points, six rebounds and four blocks. He has pieced together 10-plus points in four straight games, the second-longest streak of his career. Smith has upped his career block total to 106 which is tied for fourth place in program history with Brodney Kennard.
Keenan Evans tacked on 11 points, five assists, three steals and three rebounds from the point guard position whereas Niem Stevenson came away with seven points off the bench.
Devon Thomas chipped in four points, five rebounds and two assists making his third consecutive start. Anthony Livingston notched four points, four rebounds and a season-best three assists.
Texas Tech connected on 28-of-59 shooting and sank 14 of its 26 field goals during the second half. The Red Raiders were held to a 1-of-11 clip from three-point territory but managed to hit 12-of-16 at the free throw line.
Incarnate Word (2-3) was 18-for-49 from the field, 7-for-21 on treys and 5-for-10 from the foul line. Jorden Kite and Simi Socks led the Cardinals with 12 points apiece. UIW’s leading scorer, Shawn Johnson who entered tonight’s averaging 23.0 points per game, was bottled up for a season-low six points.
Once again, Texas Tech held the lead from the opening tip to the final buzzer. The Red Raiders fired out to a 15-4 advantage in the game’s first six minutes.
Livingston opened the scoring with a jump hook in the lane followed by a Gray midrange jumper on the left baseline. Millinghaus rattled home a three-ball, and Evans added a jumper to make it 9-2 with 16:25 remaining. Gray capped the flurry with a turnaround jumper.
Ahead 19-11 at the 8:35 mark, the Red Raiders ripped off 10 consecutive over the next 3:12 to stretch the lead to 18 points.
Evans kickstarted the run with two free throws. Thomas found Stevenson for layup late shot clock. Then, Texas Tech turned defense into offense as a Thomas steal and a Smith block resulted into transition layups. Smith was rewarded and soared for a one-handed jam off a nice feed from a driving Evans.
The Red Raiders took their largest lead at 38-14 with 2:32 left before Incarnate Word registered 13 consecutive points to close the half. The Cardinals added five more points to start the second 20 minutes to pull back to 38-30 with 18:41 to go.
Up 48-40 with 13:46 remaining, Texas Tech seized the momentum behind 19 of the next 22 points during a 10:29 stretch. Seven players scored for the Red Raiders highlighted by dunks courtesy of Smith and Gray. Tech had five assists on its eight baskets, the last two from Evans. He threaded the needle to Gray for a thunderous one-handed dunk and connected with a cutting Stevenson for a layup to give the Red Raiders a 67-43 advantage with 3:00 to go.
“I told the players after the game that, for most of the first half, it really felt like for the first time this season we were guarding like we are capable of guarding,” Beard said. “We had a nice focus on (Shawn) Johnson, their best player. We had a nice focus on their shooters. We were doing a good job with defensive rebounding so I think tonight you saw how good we can be. But, it’s a 40-minute game and consistency is everything. We played at times, and we have some work to do in other times. But at times in the first half tonight, I thought that was about as well as we can play defensively.”
Texas Tech turns its attention to Rice for a Saturday matinee between a pair of 6-1 squads. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised by FOX Sports Southwest along with the FOX Sports Go app.
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