LUBBOCK, Texas –Norense Odiase and Jarrett Culver each recorded double-doubles and Tariq Owens had nine points and nine rebounds to help lead Texas Tech to an 85-61 exhibition win over UTEP on Thursday that benefited the National Compassion Foundation – Santa Fe Strong Fund. at the United Supermarkets Arena.
Texas Tech, which had a 55-30 rebounding advantage over the Miners, opens its season on Tuesday when the Red Raiders host Incarnate Word at 6:30 p.m. in the first of three home games to begin the year.
Culver led the Red Raiders by scoring 18 points and also had 11 rebounds, while Odiase would go for 12 points and 12 rebounds in the first action on the USA court this year. Texas Tech senior Brandone Francis hit two first-half 3-pointers for the Red Raiders and finished with 11 points and Davide Moretti added eight points, three assists and three rebounds. Matt Mooney also had three assists and scored six points in his first action in front of 2,933 Red Raider fans in attendance.
The Red Raiders were 4-for-5 on 3-pointers in the second half, including back-to-back 3s by Mooney and Moretti to push the lead to 54-43 midway through the second half. An impressive dunk by Owens off a lob by Mooney and a 3-pointer by freshman Kyler Edwards pushed the advantage even more as the Red Raiders would close out the exhibition game strong with a 16-point advantage in the second-half.
Texas Tech took a 36-28 lead into halftime with Culver leading the way with 14 points and seven rebounds. Francis added nine in the opening half two 3-pointers and Owens had six rebounds and four points with four offensive rebounds. The Red Raiders owned a 26-21 rebounding advantage in the half and made 11 free throws.
The Red Raiders will unveil their Elite Eight banner prior to tipoff on Tuesday before the Red Raiders and Cardinals play in the season opener. Texas Tech will then host Mississippi Valley State on Friday, Nov. 9 and Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the USA.
Season tickets and single-game tickets for the 2018-19 season are available now at texastech.com or by calling (806) 742-TECH. For all news and updates on Texas Tech Men's Basketball, follow the program on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Coach Chris Beard opening statement:
"First of all I would like to thank the crowd tonight. We had a lot of things going on in town, but I think that we had a great turnout. I am so appreciative of all the people that came out. In case anyone know, it wasn't a part of our season ticket package so all of our loyal fans made the $10 donation to the Santa Fe Strong. I cannot thank everybody enough on the behalf of our staff, players, and program. I really want to recognize the students. Our students made a great turnout. If we can keep building on that I think that we can continue to make this a tough place to play. Last year we had the best home court in college basketball. I think that we were 17-1 at home. I just want to thank everyone coming out and getting us started. I appreciate UTEP coming and playing. I know that we raised some real money for a cause that is really important to us. I know that me personally my girlfriend is a high school teacher and my brother is a high school teacher. When you see these awful things happening like at Santa Fe High School, it just hits home to all of us. I think that there is a strong and courageous people down there. I hope that we raised some good money tonight that we can send down there to the people that are still in need. Again, I just want to thank the crowd tonight and recognize the students. We great appreciate it."
Beard on this year's team being different than last year's:
"Every team is different. Every journey is different. I really don't do great comparing things. We just try to do the task at hand with the guys that we have. I think that we have a chance to be a really good defensive team. Tonight we had some great defensive possessions, but then we had a lot of possessions that were just one play off. We have four guys doing what they were supposed to do, and then we have one guy that makes a mistake that will get us exposed. I think a big part of us will be good defense. I also like our balance on offense. I think we have six or seven guys that can get into double figures in any given night, and that is what we strive for. I do think that we have some good bigs that played good tonight. Malik (Ondigo) is coming and Josh (Mballa) is going to help us as the season goes on.
Norense Odiase on playing in the exhibition game against UTEP:
"There was nothing that we figured out about us. We just know that we got to be one of the best defensive teams in the country. We did let up in the second half. We also had some turn overs late in the game too. This team is going to go as far as our defense takes us. They have quick guards that get in the lane. They can create things for their whole offense, so it was tough staying in front of them. We tried to push them off to the side, but we got to see the film and get better on it tomorrow."
Odiase on playing with newcomer Tariq Owens:
"Tariq (Owens) and I just did our jobs. We rebounded well, but we could have gotten more. That is something that we need to keep working on.
On playing with the newcomers on the Texas Tech roster:
"It was fun. It was fun to see those guys in this atmosphere and it was fun for us to get back to playing basketball in this arena with our fans. It was just fun for our first game."
Coach Beard on playing against UTEP:
"First you have to give UTEP a lot of credit. Rodney is a really good coach who has been coaching a long time. I met him when he was a high school coach at Angleton High School in south Houston and is someone I've always had a lot of respect for. He did a great job as an assistant coach in this league at Texas and was the head coach at Fresno for several years. He knows what he's doing. I think Rodney and his team deserve a lot credit for their runs. It wasn't always what we were doing wrong. Sometimes you have to give the other guy credit and I think UTEP did some good things tonight against us."