LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Some down time did No. 11 Texas Tech well.
Coming off a six-day break for final exams, the Red Raiders rolled past Northwestern State 79-44 on Wednesday night, ignited by a dominant first half.
Jarrett Culver scored 15 points, Tariq Owens had 14 points and eight rebounds and Tech bolted to a 43-point halftime lead.
The Raiders (9-0) matched their best start since 2008-09 and all the wins have been by double digits. They had a 10-point lead less than five minutes into this rout and it grew to 21 before the 10-minute mark.
“Defensively we were executing the game plan,” Tech coach Chris Beard said. “Everybody was bringing energy. We hit a lot of shots early, and that always helps. That first half is about as well as we’ve played all season.”
Tech relied on a defense that ranks among the best in the country against the offensively challenged Demons (2-8).
DeAndre Love scored 11 points for Northwestern State, which shot 15 percent (4 of 27) in the first half and trailed 53-10 at halftime. The Demons warmed up a bit after halftime, outscoring the Red Raiders 34-26 while shooting 35 percent.
“Our thing this year is consistency,” Beard said. “(Wednesday) was a great example that we’re not there yet. In the second half, you’ve got to give Northwestern State a lot of credit because you couldn’t tell what the score was because of how hard they were playing.”
Early on, it was all Texas Tech.
Matt Mooney made all three of his 3-pointers within the first six minutes and scored 11 points along with Deshawn Corprew. Mooney was 3 of 4 from long range as the Red Raiders matched a season high with 10 3s on 23 attempts.
Culver had six rebounds and five assists, and Davide Moretti led the Red Raiders with six assists while scoring seven points.
Northwestern State had 14 of its 19 turnovers before halftime, and Texas Tech scored 17 points off turnovers in the first half.
The second half was more competitive, as the Demons found some offensive rhythm.
“First half, I felt like we were tentative, and they shot lights out,” Northwestern State coach Mike McConathy said. “We didn’t guard and we didn’t make anything happen on offense. “The second half, the guys I had on the floor were competing at a much higher level.”
Northwestern State: A bright spot in the second half was freshman Dalin Williams, who grew up in Stinnett in the Texas Panhandle and was an All-State player at West Texas High. He scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds, all in the second half.
Texas Tech: The second-half sputter is a trend the Raiders will have to solve with a schedule that includes Duke in New York City as a tuneup for the rugged Big 12 season.
Ishmael Lane, Northwestern State’s leading scorer, missed all 11 field goal attempts and didn’t score a point. The senior forward came in averaging 13.7 points.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Six players hit 3-pointers for Tech, with Mooney and Corprew leading the way with three apiece. Culver, Moretti, Kyler Edwards and Brandone Francis had one apiece.
Northwestern State: After seven road games in their first 10, the Demons play Southern-Shreveport on Saturday in the first of three consecutive home games before the start of Southland Conference play.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders play a final game in their old home arena, the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, on Saturday against Abilene Christian, the second straight year of a “throwback” game. Texas Tech’s home from 1956-99 will shut down for good next summer.
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