Texas Tech surges in 2nd half, beats S. Dakota State 79-67
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Toddrick Gotcher scored 17 points and Zach Smith chipped in 13, including five points during a key second-half surge, to propel Texas Tech to a 79-67 win over South Dakota State Wednesday night.
''I'm really, really proud of our kids. And the energy and effort they gave in the second half,'' Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said. ''I thought we beat a very good team tonight. They're a team that's probably going to be in some postseason play.''
With the victory, the Red Raiders (7-1) increased their win streak to six games. The Jackrabbits dropped to 9-2 - suffering both losses on the road.
South Dakota State's Reed Tellinghuisen scored 19 points, Deondre Parks 17, Tevin King 12 and Mike Daum 11.
With Texas Tech clinging to a 53-52 lead with 12:26 left in the second half, Justin Gray jumpstarted an 11-0 run over the next two-and-half minutes - capped off by a thunderous Smith dunk - that broke the game open as the Red Raiders led 64-52.
''I'm usually pretty calm on the court, but that (dunk) had me a little emotional out there today,'' Smith said, cracking a smile. ''I almost shed a tear.''
From that point on, Texas Tech cruised to its sixth-straight win and kept its home record at an unblemished 5-0.
Smith credited the Red Raiders success to their ability to force the Jackrabbits to commit 20 turnovers. The miscues led to Texas Tech scoring 23 points.
''We did a better job controlling the tempo (in the second half),'' said Zach Smith, who scored eight points in the final 20 minutes. ''We were also able to pressure on defense and create turnovers that led to offense.''
In addition, the Red Raiders made 14 of their 24 free throws in the second half. Texas Tech ended the game making 83 percent (20 of 24) of its free throws.
''In the past we haven't been a good free-throw shooting team,'' Gotcher said. ''That's a good sign coming up for the Big 12. . At the end of the games you're going to need that.''
The first half was a different story, though.
South Dakota State, which came into the game shooting 49 percent from the field, struggled against Texas Tech's perimeter defense early on. The Jackrabbits shot 13 percent (1 of 8) from the field in the first five-and-half minutes.
In the same span, the Red Raiders shot a scorching 75 percent (6-for-8), including three 3-pointers - a pair from Gotcher and one from Smith.
The Jackrabbits answered by making their next three shots - including a pair of 3-pointers - to close to within 17-12.
SDSU tied the game at 23-23 with a Daum trey and took its first lead at 26-23 following a 3-pointer by Parks at the 7:07 mark.
''The big focus (in practice) was talking,'' Gotcher said. ''We know they do a lot of motion - they don't have any set plays, so you don't know what's coming. Coach Smith, that's all he harped on.''
The Jackrabbits forged a five-point lead, 37-32, with less than two minutes before the Red Raiders clawed their way back to trail 38-36 at halftime.
''We just made shots, that's all that helped us,'' South Dakota State head coach Scott Nagy said. ''We were terrible defensively. . Some of it was them, they played well and were ready for us. . Shooting well masks all of the poor play we've had.''
Texas Tech locked down on the defensive end, holding South Dakota State to 37 percent shooting for the game. The Jackrabbits shot 42 percent in the first half.
''We did a lot of talking and a lot of switching,'' Gotcher said. ''(Tellinghuisen) went off and we started switching and communicating. That really helped us out and got us a lot of stops.''
South Dakota State: Senior guard George Marshall has not played in the last two games due to right foot injury. He is not expected to return until January. ''He'll be out this whole road trip,'' Nagy said.
Texas Tech: Matthew Temple made his regular-season debut Wednesday night. The junior forward, who walked-on earlier this season, checked into the game after the first media timeout. The Wichita Falls Rider High School standout finished 0 for 1 from the field with two fouls.
C.J. Williamson, a freshman guard, was noticeably absent from the Texas Tech bench Wednesday night. Smith said the omission was due to ''academic issues.''
''We didn't have C.J. Williamson tonight because of some academic issues that didn't get resolved,'' Smith said. ''We're hoping that will get resolved and he'll be back ready to play.''
South Dakota State's Reed Tellinghuisen finished with 14 points - shooting 4 of 5 from the 3-point line - at halftime. The sophomore made as many treys as the Red Raiders - who went 4 of 8 as a team, up to that point. He ended the game 5 of 10 from beyond the 3-point line.
A Good Streak
By defeating South Dakota State on Wednesday, the Red Raiders increased their winning streak to six games. Last season, Texas Tech did not win more than three games in a row and held a losing streak of six games.
With the win, Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith improved to 9-0 against South Dakota State.
Prior to its Wednesday night contest, South Dakota State received a vote in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Jackrabbits, who defeated TCU and Minnesota on the road earlier this year, earned USA Today Coaches Poll votes for the first time in program history.
South Dakota State's Deondre Parks has made his last 34 free throws dating back to a Nov. 21 road game against TCU. He kept that record intact after not recording a free throw Wednesday night.
South Dakota State visits Florida Gulf Coast University on Sunday.
Texas Tech, in the midst of a seven-game home stand, hosts Arkansas Pine-Bluff Saturday.