Defense cures a lot of problems, and not many teams are operating better at that end of the court right now than 13th-ranked Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders stayed unbeaten by pulling away from pesky Arkansas-Pine Bluff 65-47 on Wednesday in Lubbock, Texas, and their customary defensive performance was a big reason why.
Jarrett Culver paced a balanced Texas Tech scoring attack with 13 points, Matt Mooney added 11 and everybody in a home uniform had a hand in another stifling defensive performance.
Entering the game, the Raiders (8-0) led the country in field-goal defense, allowing opponents to make only 34 percent.
The Golden Lions (2-6) were the latest victim to Texas Tech’s rangy and physical defense. Martaveous McKnight scored 27 points to lead Pine Bluff, but nobody else scored more than four, and consistently making shots was a problem all night for the Lions.
They shot 32.6 percent and missed shots in bunches to fuel a handful of game-turning Texas Tech spurts. UAPB also turned the ball over 20 times.
The Raiders pieced together their biggest run early in the second half to finally shake free of Pine Bluff. Chris Smith’s two free throws at the 14:47 juncture kept the Lions within 43-31, but Tech produced the next 14 points, buoyed by back-to-back thunderous Tariq Owens’ slam dunks and a slick three-point play by Culver when he drove the baseline for an up-and-under finger roll off a pass from Mooney.
Tech lurched to a 35-25 halftime lead. The Lions made only three field goals in the last 12:45 of the opening period but stuck relatively in range by tightening up their defense.
The Raiders opened up a double-digit advantage with a 12-0 burst over 4:42, turning a 13-12 edge into 25-12 when Norense Odiase spun away from a defender and hammered home a slam dunk at the 7:44 mark.
—Field Level Media