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RECAP: No. 11 Red Raiders 82, ACU 48

LUBBOCK, Texas – Jarrett Culver scored a career-high 30 points after going 12-for-13 from the field to lead No. 11-ranked Texas Tech to an 82-48 win over Abilene Christian on Saturday in the final game ever at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.

The Red Raiders (10-0) are now unbeaten through 10 games to start a season for the second time in program history behind only a 12-0 start to the 1929-30 campaign and also extend their non-conference home winning streak to 45 games. TTU shot 55.6 percent from the field in the game and limited ACU (9-2) to 28.3 percent shooting after the Wildcats came into the game shooting 49.3 percent through their first 10 games.

Texas Tech will now face No. 2-ranked Duke on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in the first-ever matchup between the two programs. The Red Raiders and Blue Devils are scheduled to tip-off at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.

A Lubbock native playing in front of a sold-out Coliseum, Culver would add seven rebounds and four assists to his career-high 30 points. He had a previous career high of 26 earlier this season against Nebraska and last season as a freshman at West Virginia before going off for 30 against the Wildcats where he was 2-for-3 on 3-pointers. Culver is now averaging 19.1 points per game this season and has scored in double-digits in all 10 and led the team in scoring in nine.

“My teammates got me open a lot, set some good screens, had good passing and there was great space on the floor tonight so I got going early and didn’t look back,” Culver said.

Texas Tech had double-digit scorers for the second straight game with 10 players scoring at least a point in the 34-point win. Matt Mooney went for 14 points on a 6-for-10 shooting performance along with adding three steals and freshman Kyler Edwards had 10 points and five rebounds. Deshawn Corprew matched a career-high with eight rebounds and also had four points and two assists off the bench, while Tariq Owens added seven points and five rebounds and Davide Moretti contributed seven points and two assists.

Texas Tech took a 41-26 into halftime with Culver leading the way with 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting, while Mooney had eight. Culver’s 20-point halftime was the first of his career and also included him going 4-for-5 from the free-throw line in the opening half. The Red Raiders were 14-for-27 from the field in the first half and limited the Wildcats to 37 percent. The Wildcats were 4-for-13 on 3-pointers at halftime.

“I just told the guys without watching the film I feel played a solid 33 to 34 minutes,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. “We had a couple of stretches in the second half that just got away from us. When you get that lead there is a fine line that you want to play with some patience, but you also want to keep attacking. I give ACU a lot of credit. They are a great reflection of how coach Joe Golding was as a player and as a coach. He is a competitive guy. It was one of our better games. In order to win in the Big 12 we need to play the full 40 minutes.”

The Red Raiders led by as many as 39 points in the game and has now won five games by 30 or more and all 10 of their games by double digits. Culver’s performance was the first time a Red Raider has scored 30 points this season and the first since Keenan Evans went for 38 last season at Texas. He is the 45th player in program history to reach 30 points, with Dub Malaise topping the program with 13 games with 30 or more points and Will Flemons maintained the all-time Lubbock Municipal Coliseum record with 47 against Oral Roberts in 1993.

Texas Tech has now shot over 50 percent in four games and limited an opponent to under 30 percent in four this season. The Red Raiders continue to lead the nation by holding the opposition to 32.2 percent shooting and is now at 49.9 percent offensively. The team has held opponents to under 50 points in five games and three straight after holding ACU to 48, a season-low for them that was previously at 60.

Jalone Friday led the Wildcats with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Jaren Lewis had nine and Jaylen Franklin and Trey Lenox added eight each. The Wildcats had only eight turnovers in the game, but were unable to stay with the Red Raiders after going 5-for-21 on 3-pointers and 15-for-53 from the field. ACU will return to action on Friday when it plays at Southeastern Missouri State.

Coach Beard
Opening Statement:
“I want to wish Abilene Christian the best this season. I think the best complement that I can give those guys is how focused our guys were tonight. We set this game up, in our opinion, as the best team that we have played in non-conference at home. No disrespect to the other opponents. This team was 9-1 for a reason. They got a veteran team. Joe Golding has done a great job with his team. We will be pulling for them the rest of the season. Our guys were dialed in. I think that they understood that Abilene Christian was coming here to beat us. Once again, I would like to thank our fans. Red Raider nation never disappoints. We had what appeared to be an almost sell out situation without the students in town. It is always humbling how our fans are good to us. Tonight was always about showing respect to the players and coaches that came before us. Last night I couldn’t sleep because I was worried to death about Abilene Christian. I googled the coliseum and the black and white pictures that popped up were amazing. The building looks the same. There was a real feeling around our program the last two days. I hope that anybody that was watching out there that they thought that we played well tonight. The reason why we tried to play one of our best games this season, was to try to respect the people to have competed in this building.”

On trying to play the full 40 minutes:
“I just told the guys without watching the film I feel played a solid 33 to 34 minuets. We had a couple of stretches in the second half that just got away from us. When you get that lead there is a fine line that you want to play with some patience, but you also want to keep attacking. I give ACU a lot of credit. They are a great reflection of how coach Joe Golding was as a player and as a coach. He is a competitive guy. It was one of our better games. In order to win in the Big 12 we need to play the full 40 minutes.”

On being consistent:
“It is just consistently and each guy playing their best. I think that Matt Mooney played great tonight. He shot 60 percent and made three steals. He is our play maker. He is the guy that is going to have some turnovers from time to time. We are trying to play each game and each possession. I thought for the first time tonight that nobody was looking at the scoreboard. There was a lot of coaching going on within the team tonight. There were players talking to other players about accountability.

On Jarrett Culver’s progression:
“Jarrett can always improve defensively. I think that he can be better at reading defensively. I bet LeBron James is always saying that he can get better. That is the beauty about basketball. You are never going to quite get it, but you can become close. You are always looking for perfection, but you are never going to quite reach it but that is what you strive for.”

On being 10-0:
“Being 10-0 doesn’t really mean much to me. No disrespect to the other guys, but we just try to look at the next opponent on our schedule. I hope that any kind of success that we have early on in the season that former Red Raiders take pride. A lot people paved the way for the kind of program that we have today. The USA would have never existed if it were not for good teams and good coaches in this building. The Womble would be happening if it were for the guys who didn’t get it done the last 15 to 20 years. We represent a lot of people when we play.”

On coaching for the next game:
“That’s not an issue for our guys. These seniors know that 10-0 doesn’t mean much. We would much rather win our last 10 games. That means you’re going to win the Big 12 Tournament. With some younger teams, I worry about stuff like this, so with these 4 seniors leading this team and Jarrett Culver being a best player type guy. I have a lot to worry about the next game on the schedule. I don’t worry about our guys not being focused.”

On Coach Myers lasting memory:
“Only time will tell. The other day, being here with Coach Myers and doing some interviews and coach got a little emotional. He was talking about his memories of looking out on the floor one time after becoming the head coach. It kinda sunk in. I got emotional seeing Coach get emotional. My relationship with Coach Myers is top of my list of things that have happen to me during my career. It has just been special. He walks a fine line. He helps us, but never crosses the line. That’s a hard line to walk. I was watching Ella play basketball last night, and I don’t walk that line very well. I am trying to be a parent and get her back on defense. Coach Myers has been great to us. We love it when he is around. Time will tell what my best memory is, but I don’t think I will ever forget Coach Myers sitting on that floor a couple of days ago getting emotional talking about Texas Tech.”

Jarrett Culver
On playing in the coliseum:
“It was a very historic game for us. We came out and did it for the people that played before us and all the coaches. There’s a lot of history behind it so we wanted to end it on a good night. Just how it’s the last home game that anyone’s going to play here. It’s very special to end it and being a part of this team, you just want to end it on a special note like we did tonight.”

On playing in the first half:
“My teammates got me open a lot, set some good screens, had good passing and there was great space on the floor tonight so I got going early and didn’t look back.”

On being prepared:
“I feel like we always prepare, feel like we’re one of the most prepared teams in college basketball. Our great coaching staff always have us ready so it’s on us to play as hard as we can. We focus on playing forty minutes together, we have a game plan. Tonight we came out and tried to focus on that.”

Matt Mooney
On seeing when Culver is on a roll:
“You just get him the ball and let him take over the game. He’s got the ability to just take over a game and put together a couple buckets in a row. He’s a real special player and it’s fun to watch when he gets it going like that.”
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