LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech sophomore guard Jarrett Culver provided the offensive spark the Red Raiders needed to survive an otherwise sluggish night and claim a 59-40 victory over Southeast Louisiana on Tuesday at the United Supermarkets Arena.
It’s hard to imagine there will be many nights when Red Raiders Davide Moretti, Matt Mooney and Brandone Francis go a combined 1-for-10 from 3-point range. It’s even less likely Texas Tech can do that and win on a regular basis.
But that was the case as the Red Raiders (3-0) cruised past the Lions.
Texas Tech dominated Southeast Louisiana, the Southland Conference champion last season, for the first 10 minutes of the contest. After that, the Red Raiders struggled to establish momentum.
Even so, Culver posted 21 points and 4 assists, lifting the Red Raiders when they needed it most.
For example, Texas Tech went a bit stagnant on the offensive side near the end of the first half.
Odiase made a layup with 6:18 left in the first half to give the Red Raiders a 25-10 lead. But that was the Red Raiders’ last field goal for more than five minutes and Southeast Louisiana cut into the margin. Lions guard Parker Edwards made three-straight free throws to slice Texas Tech’s edge to 26-19.
Culver took over in the final two minutes before the break, though, hitting a jump shot, a pair of free throws and a layup. His surge at the end of that half gave Texas Tech a 32-19 lead at halftime.
Red Raiders coach Chris Beard acknowledged that his team didn’t play its best. But he pointed out that feeling a little frustrated after a 19-point win is a sign of progress.
“Don’t forget, there was a time not too long ago where you win a nonconference game by 20 points, people would be hitting the piñata and partying in the parking lot,” Beard said. “Now when you don’t play your best, everybody is kind of a little bit gloomy. That’s ok. That’s just expectations. I like that.”
Although Morettie went 0-for-4 from 3-point range, he was aggressive on the defensive end and came up with three steals that created a chunk of Texas Tech’s 18 points off turnovers.
Odiase provided another bright spot as he had 9 rebounds in the first 10 minutes and finished with a career-best 13.