Texas Tech pulls away to beat Prairie View 79-51
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Texas Tech has relied on its youth this season. Sunday, the Red Raiders started a senior, a junior and three freshmen, tied for the sixth-youngest starting lineup nationally.
Fortunately for the Red Raiders, their young players led them to a 79-51 home win against Prairie View A&M on Sunday afternoon. Underclassmen accounted for more than 80 percent of their points.
Sophomore Randy Onwuasor scored a team-high 14 points for the Red Raiders, while freshmen Isaiah Manderson and Norense Odiase added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
''We recruited them believing they would be able to contribute right away,'' Red Raiders coach Tubby Smith said. ''They're getting better. All our freshmen are really improved.''
The Red Raiders (7-1) needed a big second-half run to put away Prairie View A&M (1-9), which received a game-high 25 points from Montrael Scott.
Texas Tech led by six points, 32-26, at halftime, though the Panthers evened the score at 37 with 16:22 left. But then the Red Raiders went on a 20-3 run over the next eight minutes to build a 57-40 lead they didn't come close to losing. Odiase and Onwuasor scored six points apiece during that stretch.
''They pressured us a lot and probably took us out of some of our stuff,'' Onwuasor said. ''I think in the second half we made some adjustments and were able to attack the basket and get shots.''
The Panthers could only trim the deficit to 15 points over the rest of the game and trailed by at least 20 points for the final 4:22. The Red Raiders shot 10 of 22 (45.5 percent) in the first half but 17 of 29 (58.6 percent) in the second half, when they outscored the Panthers 47-25.
The Red Raiders outrebounded Prairie View A&M 23-11 in the second half. They also appeared to wear down the Panthers, as Texas Tech's bench outscored them 33-2 in the second half.
''It feels good,'' Onwuasor said. ''We're a young team. We're going to get the chemistry together. We still haven't played a lot of games together. By the time Big 12 play comes, we'll be ready.''
Prairie View A&M: The Panthers struggled with fouls throughout the game. Reggis Onwukamuche fouled out, while John Brisco, Nolan Wilson and Karim York each picked up four. Just one Panther who appeared in the game didn't pick up a foul. The Panthers committed 28 fouls to Texas Tech's 11, and the Red Raiders shot 22 of 36 from the free-throw line.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders expected forward Aaron Ross to return from a torn right ACL in January, but he received medical clearance last week. Ross, who also suffered a knee injury earlier in his Red Raiders career, scored three points in nine minutes off the bench on Sunday. ''We love Ross,'' Odiase said. ''I was over there screaming, cheering for him when he didn't even have the ball. We wanted him to be great and play great. He hit a three, so I was going crazy.'' Ross averaged 9.8 minutes and 3.7 points per game last season.
The Red Raiders haven't allowed more than 69 points in their first eight games this season. The mark matches their start in the 1980-81 season, five years before men's college basketball began using the shot clock. No Smith-coached team has accomplished this feat since his 1996-97 Georgia team, which did so in 12 consecutive games.
Prairie View A&M travels to play at Sam Houston State on Saturday.
Texas Tech plays host to South Carolina State on Wednesday.