Texas Tech basketball: T.J. Holyfield’s big night leads Red Raiders to 2-0

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 05: The Texas Tech Red Raiders mascot looks on during practice prior to the 2019 NCAA men's Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 5, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 05: The Texas Tech Red Raiders mascot looks on during practice prior to the 2019 NCAA men's Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 5, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Behind 20 points and six rebounds from senior T.J. Holyfield, the Texas Tech basketball team moved to 2-0 on the season with a 79-44 win over Bethune-Cookman.

After just two games as a Red Raider, grad transfer T.J. Holyfield already looks right at home in Lubbock.  Saturday night, the 6-foot-8 forward had a game-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds to lead the Texas Tech basketball team to a 79-44 win over Bethune-Cookman inside the United Supermarkets Arena.

On the heels of Tuesday’s 15-point, 6-rebound Red Raider debut, Holyfield was again a force down low as he hit 8-11 shots from the floor, most of them coming in the paint.  But unlike in game one, when he scored his team’s first four points, Holyfield did not make a shot until the 10:37 mark of the first half.  That bucket gave the home team a 17-11 lead.

Moments later, Tech would put together a 14-4 run to claim a 33-17 lead and from that point, the game was less about the outcome than it was about the No. 13 team in the nation improving and continuing to figure out how to play together with eight freshmen or transfers seeing the court.

One of those freshmen, Jahmi’us Ramsey, had 13 points and nine rebounds, his second-straight game in double-figures to begin his career.  However, the highest-rated high school player to ever sign with the Red Raiders was not as efficient as he was in his first game as he was just 4-11 from the field.  Tuesday, the Duncanville, Texas native put up a team-high 19 points on 8-16 shooting.

Meanwhile, one of the three returners on Chris Beard’s team, Davide Moretti, also had 13 points on 4-6 shooting.  Hitting 3-4 shots from 3-point range, the junior is now shooting 75% from deep to start the year.


But what has to be the takeaway from this game is the way the Red Raiders played on defense.  After a somewhat shaky effort in the opener, Tech allowed the Wildcats to make just 29.8% of their field goal attempts.  That included holding them to 3-17 (17.6%) from behind the arc.

The defensive rotations were much more in-sync as the Red Raiders drew four charges after drawing just one four days ago. In addition, Beard’s team held a 44-31 advantage on the glass and came up with 9 steals while forcing 21 turnovers.

However, the stat Beard seemed most satisfied with had to do with his team’s movement on the offensive side of the floor.

"“The first thing that kinda jumps out is 28 made baskets off of 22 assists,” he said in his postgame remarks.  “That means you’re playing team basketball, you’re moving the ball and that’s our plan.  Whether we can execute it consistently is yet to be determined but 22 assists is an impressive stat.”"

As a team, Tech shot 47.5% from the field.  From deep, the Red Raiders hit 7-19 shots (36.8%) with Avery Benson hitting both of his long-distance attempts to join Moretti as the only two Red Raiders with more than one 3-pointer.

If there is anything for Beard to pick out as a problem from this performance, it is almost certain to be the 15 turnovers his team committed.  That is two more than Tech had in the opener.

One key for the Red Raiders was slowing down Bethune-Cookman’s star forward Cletrell Pope, who had 19 points and 22 rebounds in his team’s opener.  The 6-foot-9 senior picked up his fourth foul early in the second half and was a virtual non-factor with four points and eight rebounds.

5-foot-9 reserve guard Malik Maitland led the Wildcats with 15 points while senior Isaiah Bailey was the only other visitor in double-figures with 13.  Meanwhile, freshman Joe French, who had 24 points in the Wildcats’ first game, was held scoreless and was able to hoist only two shots.

dark. Next. Tech in the mix for the nation's top basketball recruit

It was another all-around successful night for the Texas Tech basketball team.  Before a second-straight packed house, the Red Raiders put on another show and got better in the process.  The defending Big 12 co-champions now turn their sights towards Wednesday’s game against Houston Baptist in Midland.  Hopefully, they will give the fans in the Permian Basin a show similar to the two they’ve put on in the Hub City this week.