Texas Tech breaks away from Fresno State in 2nd half 74-56
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Texas Tech's halftime adjustments worked Wednesday night.
The Red Raiders used a strong second-half defense to earn a 73-56 home win against Fresno State. The Bulldogs scored 25 second-half points and shot 9 of 25 (36 percent) after halftime.
''We made some adjustments in our zone to keep the ball out of the middle and forced them to shoot it outside,'' Red Raiders coach Tubby Smith said. ''The zone was very active.''
Devaugntah Williams led the Red Raiders with 17 points, and Marvelle Harris produced a team-high 17 points for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs (3-7) trailed by just three, 34-31, at halftime. A Harris jump shot with 17:20 remaining in the game trimmed their deficit to 34-33.
But then their offensive drought began. Their next point came on a free throw with 14:22 left and their second field goal of the second half didn't come until 7:42 remained in the game. The latter shot only trimmed Texas Tech's lead to 55-39.
''It says a lot about our bench,'' Smith said. ''I think that's the key to us pulling away there midway in the second half, where I think we wore them down. They had a very short bench.''
Fresno State played just three reserves, to Texas Tech's nine.
The Red Raiders (6-1) built leads of 20 points three times over the remainder of the game, and the Bulldogs couldn't trim the deficit to less than 14 points in that span.
After winning their last two games by a combined three points, the Red Raiders cruised.
''It felt good going up by 20 on them,'' Williams said. ''It was a good team effort.''
The first half was much more closely contested.
The Red Raiders built a 17-9 lead with 14:19 remaining in the first half, but the Bulldogs responded with five consecutive points to trim the deficit to three points, 17-14.
After Texas Tech built a nine-point lead with 4:08 left in the first half, the Bulldogs cut their deficit to two points, 29-27, with 2:03 left.
They scored four of the next nine points for the 34-31 deficit at halftime.
''I was proud of how our kids responded when they were challenged,'' Smith said. ''We made some adjustments at halftime, and I thought that was key to pulling the game out.''
Fresno State: The Red Raiders had another opportunity to see Bulldogs guard Julien Lewis, who transferred from Texas to Fresno State last season. Lewis made a game-winning shot for the Longhorns against the Red Raiders in an overtime game in 2012. Although he entered Wednesday with at least 10 points in seven of the Bulldogs' nine games, Lewis finished with two points while dealing with foul trouble Wednesday.
Texas Tech: Williams received his second consecutive start Wednesday, this time in place of Randy Onwuasor. Onwuasor committed a team-leading 16 turnovers while starting Texas Tech's first six games. Smith said the decision also came because Williams has been shooting well. Williams started Dec. 3 in place of Justin Gray, who was battling a right hip injury.
ON THE RISE
Smith tied longtime friend and former Purdue coach Gene Keady on Wednesday at 531 career wins. Smith credited his assistant coaches and players but was happy to tie Keady. ''There's nobody I would feel more honored to tie than Gene Keady,'' Smith said. ''I'm sure he'll give me a call. We'll be talking this week.''
Fresno State returns home to play Cal Poly on Saturday.
Texas Tech plays host to Prairie View A&M on Sunday.