FORT WORTH, Texas – Texas Tech established a pair of program records by winning their 12th Big 12 Conference game of the season and extending a seven-game conference winning streak with an 81-66 win over TCU on Saturday at the Schollmaier Arena.
Tariq Owens recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Jarrett Culver and Davide Moretti both scored 15 points to help lead the No. 11 Red Raiders (24-5, 12-4 Big 12) to their fifth conference road win. Tech finished the game with five players in double-figure scoring, shooting 56.9 percent from the field with eight 3-pointers and held the Horned Frogs (18-11, 6-11 Big 12) to only 38.7 percent shooting. The Red Raiders, who swept the season series over TCU, jumped out to a 43-25 halftime lead which was their seventh straight game with a double-digit halftime lead.
With only two games remaining in the regular season against Texas and Iowa State, the Red Raiders are atop the Big 12 Conference standings with Kansas State (12-4 Big 12) which earned a 66-60 win over Baylor on Saturday night.
Owens, who also had double-doubles with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Memphis and 12 points and 10 rebounds against Kansas, would add three blocked shots to take his season total to 69 and only two behind the Tech single-season record of Tony Battie from the 1996-97 season. His 13 rebounds were a season high and one shy of his career high of 14 against Seton Hall when he played for St. John’s. He has now scored in double figures in five straight games and is averaging 9.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in conference play. Culver matched a career-high with seven assists and season-high five steals to go along with his 15 points and Moretti was 3-for-6 on 3-pointers and is now 12-for-20 in the past four games from beyond the arc. Tech’s bench outscored TCU’s by a 24-0 margin, led by Deshawn Corprew who finished with 12 points after going 5-for-6 from the field with two 3-pointers and Brandone Francis who had nine points. Matt Mooney added 11 points and had six assists for the third straight game.
“We always feel like we are the underdog and have a chip on our shoulder,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “That’s just us. This game was the biggest game that we’ve ever played or coached in. That’s how we approached each game. I’d hate to go into any game thinking the other guy wanted it more than us. Our guys were ready to play today.”
Texas Tech finished with a season-high 22 assists and now has six games this season with 20 or more assists in the game where the Red Raiders led by as many as 23 and led for 39 of the 40 minutes of play. Tech had established program’s best with 11 conference wins and a six-game conference winning streak last season before surpassing it with the win over the Horned Frogs.
TCU started second half on a 10-0 run before 3-pointers by Moretti, Corprew and Mooney gave the Red Raiders an 8-0 run of their own and a 54-39 lead with 14:04 remaining in the game. A jumper by Culver gave Tech a 57-45 lead with 11:50 to play and also gave Culver 11 points in the game. The Horned Frogs were able to cut an 18-point deficit to seven with their early run before the Red Raiders pushed it back and never let the game get back to single digits. The lead was back to 20 after a pair of thunderous dunks by Culver and Owens followed by a 3-pointer from Francis for a 77-57 lead with 2:28 to play.
Texas Tech owned a 43-25 halftime lead after going 19-for-32 (59.4 percent) from the field and limiting the Horned Frogs to 8-for-28 (28.6). The Red Raiders also had a 20-13 rebounding advantage, had 13 assists on their 19 field goals and had forced nine TCU turnovers. Tech had eight players score in the half where they led by 18 and in double digits for the seventh straight game.
Owens was leading the Red Raiders with 10 points and seven assists at halftime after starting the game 5-for-5 from the field, while Culver had eight points and six assists. Tech had three 3-pointer in the opening half, first by Moretti would score five points in the first half before Kyler Edwards and Deshawn Corprew knocked down a pair of 3s. The Tech bench outscored TCU by a 14-0 margin the first half with Francis going for six points, Corprew five and Edwards three. TCU’s Kouat Noi led the Horned Frogs with eight points at the break and Desmond Bane had seven. JD Samuel led TCU for the game with 18 points with Alex Robinson finishing with 17 and Noi at 15. TCU shot 47.1 percent in the second half with six 3-pointers but also saw the Red Raiders shoot 53.8 percent in the second half with five 3-pointers.
Texas Tech jumped out fast on TCU, leading by 11 just nine minutes into the game on a layup by Francis for its first double-digit lead and then led by 20 on the 3-pointer by Edwards. Tech’s largest lead of the first half was at 23 on a jumper by Culver that capped a 14-2 lead. TCU started the game shooting 4-for-20 from the field before going on an 8-0 run to cut it to 15 with two minutes remaining in the half. A tip-in and then jumper by Owens were the final baskets of the half and pushed the lead back to 18.
Texas Tech will return from Fort Worth to host Texas at 8 p.m. on Monday in its final game at the United Supermarkets Arena. The game will be featured on ESPN’s Big Monday and is Senior Night for Norense Odiase, Brandone Francis, Tariq Owens and Matt Mooney. During halftime of the game the inaugural Ring of Honor class of Rick Bullock, Andre Emmett, Dub Malaise and Jim Reed will be recognized. Along with the men’s class, Marsha Sharp, Sheryl Swoopes and Carolyn Thompson will be honored as the first Lady Raider inductees into the Ring of Honor. The Red Raiders come into their home finale with a 16-1 record at home and are 49-5 at the USA under Beard.