Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders shake off rust in second half to beat Tennessee State

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 05: Guard Davide Moretti #25 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders passes the ball during the second half of the college basketball game against the Eastern Illinois Panthers at United Supermarkets Arena on November 05, 2019 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
LUBBOCK, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 05: Guard Davide Moretti #25 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders passes the ball during the second half of the college basketball game against the Eastern Illinois Panthers at United Supermarkets Arena on November 05, 2019 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) /

In its first game in over a week, the No. 12 Texas Tech basketball team looked rusty at times but still managed to claim a 75-57 win over Tennessee State Thursday night at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock.

Any team that takes a week-long hiaitus from competition is likely going to struggle to find its football.  Also true is that fact that any team relying on seven freshmen is certain to have some less than stellar showings.  Both were true of the No. 12 Texas Tech baksetball team in its 72-57 win Thursday night over Tennessee State.

Davide Moretti led the Red Raiders with 19 points, 13 coming after halftime, as the Red Raiders overcame a sluggish offensive night to run their home non-conference winning streak to 40 games.  Freshmen Jahmi’us Ramsey and Terrence Shannon Jr. each added 13 points while sophomore Kyler Edwards was the fourth Red Raider in double digits with 10.

Tech led just 27-22 at the intermission thanks to a 7-26 (26.9%) shooting effort.  That included just 2-12 (17%) from 3-point range.

At first, it appeared that another easy night was in store for Chris Beard’s team as it jumped out to a 10-1 lead in the first six-plus minutes of action.  But when TSU’s Ravel Moody nailed a 3-pointer to end the first half, it became apparent that Tech would have to work a littler harder in its fourth game than it had in any of its three previous contests.

"“We found ourselves in a battle, right?” Beard said. “They hit that three going into halftime, we’re down five, we haven’t really been in this situation yet. A lot of positives come from this. We would much rather learn lessons after a victory rather than a defeat. There are people that say ‘the best lessons come after losses’, I respectfully disagree. People can learn through success. I like the fact that we had a close game tonight.”"

After the half, the game remained tight for the first six minutes of play and when TSU’s Wesley Harris hit a shot at the 14:33 mark, the Tigers trailed just 35-32.  The former West Virginia Mountaineer had 10 points on 3-11 shooting and five rebounds and was lustily booed all night by the Texas Tech students.

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In January of 2018, video showed Harris shove or punch a Texas Tech student who had rushed the court with the rest of his student body after the Red Raiders knocked off the Mountaineers 72-71.  Naturally, the Texas Tech studnets did not let the 6-foot-9 senior off the hook chanting such taunts as “anger management” and “please don’t punch us” in Harris’ direction.

After Harris made it a one-score game, Moretti took over.  Scoring his team’s next eight points, he pushed Tech’s lead to 43-35 with 11:38 to play.  Included in that run were a pair of 3-point buckets that seemed to get his team and the crowd going.

"“I was ready,” he said after the game.  “I was trying to get the ball late and I feel like my teammates were looking for me. I think I was ready for it and like I said I have been working on it. Sometimes I feel like late shot clock I had my opportunities to help my teammates or get a shot for myself. Like I said I have been working on it, I’m glad to show it tonight.”"

The Red Raiders connected on 10-24 second-half shots to finish the game at 34% from the floor. That included hitting just 6-23 from behind the arc for the game.

Of note had to be Ramsey’s cold-shooting night.  Entering the game as a 58.3% 3-point shooter for the year, he was 0-6 from deep on Thursday.


Fortunately, the Red Raiders found enough offense to score another double-digit win, their fourth-in-a-row to begin the year.  While Moretti drained 4-7 shots from deep, the only other Red Raider to connect from long-rage was Shannon, who hit 2-4 from outside, his first two successful 3-pointers of the year.

"“I said all week long as we prepared for this game and talking to you guys,” Beard said.  “this is a big 12 team in terms of their two guards, 0 and 1 are very quick, this is Big 12 speed and they have their length and athleticism on the perimeter, so I thought by far this is the most athletic team we have played, took a little while to adjust to that. I just didn’t think we ever got into a flow offensively.“We would have a couple good possessions and then kick ourselves in the foot, we would have a couple good possessions and then they would make a good play, you have to give them credit because we just never got into a flow where we had any kind of consistency with our offense.”"

Fortunately, Tech’s trademark defense didn’t fail the home team.  For the game, TSU shot just 35.3% overall and made just 8-28 (28.6%) of it’s 3-point looks.  The Tigers became the third of Tech’s four opponents thus far to fail to score over 60 points.  On nights when this team of newcomers and freshmen have trouble putting the ball in the basket, it’s comforting to know that the defensive effort will still be there.

Next. Texas Tech basketball: Early surprises. dark

"“Yeah, it is a given,” Beard said.  “I mean it is what you are supposed to do when you play at this level. If you wear the double T, that guys like [Jarius] Jackson (who was honored as a Texas Tech Hall of Fame inductee during the game) wore, I mean you play hard around here.Tonight, I thought that a couple of time that Tennessee State played harder than us. We had a nice conversation about that at halftime, and our second half intensity was better. I thought both teams played really hard tonight. You have to give credit to the defenses for the bad shooting night.”"