Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
Jarrett Culver pumped in 14 of his career-high 21 points during the first half, and the Texas Tech men's basketball team headed into the Thanksgiving break on a high note with a 79-56 victory over Wofford on Wednesday at the United Supermarkets Arena.
This year's Red Raiders (5-0) join the 1929-30 and 2008-09 squads as the only teams in program history to win their first five games by 10-plus points. Texas Tech also pushed its nonconference home winning streak to 32 straight games and have won 27 of the 32 games during the streak by double figures.
Culver was 8-of-16 from the floor sparked by a trio of three-pointers. He also grabbed three rebounds and added two steals over his 20 minutes of action. The Lubbock native has reached double figures for the third time in the last four games.
"We are thrilled for this victory," Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. "I think we saw a glimpse of what Jarrett Culver can be tonight – a special young player. There were a lot of lessons to be learned for him tonight. We're going to enjoy watching that tape together after we eat some turkey tomorrow. The highlight of tonight, and I knew this was coming. I have been praying for a day like this to sit here at this table with Norense to my right. All the adversity he has been through with the injuries but he is probably starting to come back almost had a double-double tonight with 20 minutes of playing time. I am just tankful again for everyone who helped Norense get back the team doctors, trainers, teammates the coaches. It was a personal highlight of mine watching him get comfortable out there tonight and almost have a double-double."
Keenan Evans piled up 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals. He moved his streak to 25 consecutive games in doubles figures, the longest for a Red Raider since Ronald Ross accomplished the feat with a 25-game run of his own during the 2004-05 season.
In addition to Culver, Texas Tech's bench was up to the task for the fifth straight game. The reserves amassed a 46-13 margin and have scored 188 points for an average of 37.6 points per contest over their first five outings.
Norense Odiase nearly garnered a double-double with nine points and seven rebounds, while Davide Moretti chipped in eight points and five assists against zero turnovers. Brandone Francis also tacked on eight points and two assists.
Justin Gray filled the box score with eight points, five rebounds and two steals. For Gray, the eight points were a season-high. Zach Smith and Niem Stevenson secured five points apiece followed by Tommy Hamilton IV with three points and three rebounds.
Texas Tech came away with a 27-of-57 shooting clip and knocked down 7-of-20 from three-point territory. The Red Raiders were 18-of-26 at the free throws line and forced Wofford (3-3) into 21 turnovers en route to a 25-11 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Terriers turned in a 21-for-54 effort from the floor and misfired on 15 of their 20 three-point attempts. Wofford was 9-of-12 on free throws.
The Terriers were led by Nathan Hoover's 16 points and limited Fletcher Magee who entered the game posting close to 25 points per game to a season's low 14 points on 5-of-11 from the field.
"I thought Niem Stevenson did a great job starting us off in the game," Beard said. "He set the tone defensively. He's a great player, and I thought Niem was really dialed in. He limited some of his touches (Fletcher Magee), contested shots, but yet was disciplined not to foul. I give Niem a lot of credit for getting us started. Then, the next guys Brandone and Justin. We wanted to put different guys on him and get a crack at him. I thought defense set the tone tonight."
The Red Raiders faced an early 6-5 deficit at the 16:15 mark but took control of the game with 35 of the next 41 points over the next 10:19 off the clock.
Culver started his memorable performance with a driving layup, and Moretti buried a trey on the left wing to put Texas Tech ahead 10-6 with 15:32 to go.
Up 17-12 with 13:02 remaining, the Red Raiders began their 23-point flurry over a 7:27 span. Culver pushed the margin into double figures with consecutive three-balls 33 seconds apart. Then, Evans added five straight points, and Zach Smith buried a 15-footer to make it 29-12 with 9:34 left.
The spurt was capped by a Moretti triple on the right wing, two Odiase free throws and an Evans midrange jumper to bring the tally to 40-12 at the 5:19 mark.
Texas Tech held a 50-22 advantage going into the locker room, and the lead got as large as 55-22 after a Gray steal turned into Stevenson layup at the other end during the opening moments of the second half.
Wofford found its rhythm and responded with a 10-0 run. The Terriers got as close as 71-52 with 6:34 remaining before Texas Tech pieced together two Odiase free throws, a two-handed jam by Culver off a baseline drive and a Culver layup off his own steal to extend the advantage back to 25 points.
"I think it was our energy," Beard said. "I thought we were more energetic in the first half, and I thought we were more aggressive. It is one of the hardest things to do in sports is when you try to maintain a lead. We see it in football all the time with the prevent defense. Basketball is really the same way. You don't want to come down and take quick shots. I think from a coaching standpoint we probably didn't put our guys in the best situation the second half. If I had to do it over again, I would be a lot more aggressive in the first four or five minutes some of the things we were calling. But again, give Wofford credit. There is a reason why we didn't play as well as we wanted to in the second half. That's because of good players and a good coach that didn't quit."
Texas Tech wraps up Thanksgiving Week with a Saturday matinee against Savannah State. Tip time is set for 2 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised by FOX Sports Southwest Plus.
It's a Door Buster Game which means fans can purchase tickets for $5 on gameday only at the United Supermarkets Arena Ticket Office which will open early at 12 p.m. CT.
Fans are reminded that the S1 Parking Lot at the John Walker Soccer Complex which is located at 3901 10th Street is the lone free parking lot for all fans which includes ADA parking for all men's basketball games. A free shuttle service begins 75 minutes prior to tipoff and runs up to 60 minutes following the game to transport fans to and from the United Supermarkets Arena. Buses also are ADA accessible. There is no longer free parking available in the West Lot across from the United Supermarkets Arena.
Traffic patterns around the United Supermarkets Arena have changed for the 2017-18 season. All patrons with North Lot passes must enter their lot from the Main and Flint intersection. All fans with South Lot passes must enter their lot from the 18th and Flint intersection. All West Lot pass holders must enter their lot at the Texas Tech Parkway and Knoxville Avenue intersection. All vehicles will be blocked from entering Indiana Avenue off of the Texas Tech Parkway.
Fans are reminded to go clear at all Texas Tech basketball games. The clear bag policy provides a safer atmosphere and speeds up the entry process into the United Supermarkets Arena.