Red Raiders hold off K-State, jump to No. 8 in AP poll

Red Raiders guard Davide Moratti (25) takes a jump shot over Kansas State Wildcats guard Shaun Neal-Williams (1) in the second half at United Supermarkets Arena.Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports


Texas Tech grasped a pair of ugly wins last week, finished off by the Red Raiders’ 63-57 victory over Kansas State on Saturday at the United Supermarkets Arena.

But, ugly or not, Texas Tech (13-1) put itself in position to start grappling for the Big 12 championship. The Red Raiders victory at West Virginia gave them a foothold they’ve never experienced before as, until now, a trip to Morgantown, West Virginia, has meant a mark in the loss column.

Kansas State was a decided underdog coming to Lubbock without Dean Wade in the lineup and Kamau Stokes playing limited minutes. Even so, the Wildcats made a charge by pressuring Texas Tech into a sloppy second half.

Guard Davide Moretti made the big shots Texas Tech needed to hold off K-State and get to 2-0 in conference play. Moretti posted a career-high 19 points, making up for an off day by Jarrett Culver, who had just 9.

As a result of the two Big 12 victories, the Red Raiders vaulted from No. 11 to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll. Texas Tech’s road win against West Virginia was especially important as at least one pollster won’t put a team in the rankings until it has won a true road game. The trip to play the Mountaineers was the Red Raiders’ first game on an opponent’s home court this season.

That sets up a top-25 showdown against Oklahoma (12-2), which held steady at No. 23 with a loss at Kansas and a win at home versus Oklahoma State.