Basketball: No. 11 Red Raiders 79, Northwestern State 44

Basketball: No. 11 Red Raiders 79, Northwestern State 44

LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech defense limited Northwestern State to 10 points and 14.8 percent shooting in a dominant first half that carried the No. 11-ranked Red Raiders to a 79-44 win and extended a 44-game non-conference home winning streak on Wednesday at the United Supermarkets Arena.

The Red Raiders (9-0) would lead 53-10 at halftime and matched a season-high with 10 3-pointers in the game, including Matt Mooney and Deshawn Corprewknocking down three each in a 35-point win where 11 players scored. The team has now won all nine of its games by double-digits this season, four by 30 or more points, is 6-0 at home and have limited opponents to under 30 percent shooting in three games. Texas Tech would hold NSU (2-8) to 24.5 percent shooting throughout the game, a season-low for the nation's top defensive team which has now held its first nine opponents to 32.6 percent shooting.

Jarrett Culver led the Red Raiders with 15 points and five assists, while Tariq Owens added 14 points and eight rebounds. Culver has now scored in double figures in all nine games this season, leading the team in eight and is now averaging 17.9 points per game for the season. Mooney and Corprew both finished the game with 11 points, while Kyler Edwards and Davide Moretti had seven each. Norense Odiase led the Red Raiders with seven rebounds and had two blocks along with Owens.

Culver led the Red Raiders with 13 points at halftime, while Mooney was at 11 and Owens had eight points and five rebounds. The Red Raiders had nine players score in the opening 20 minutes and finished the half shooting 54.5 percent from the field, including going 8-for-18 on 3-pointers. The Red Raiders pulled away early with a 15-0 run to take a 20-2 lead after starting the game 4-for-7 on 3-pointers while NSU was 1-for-10 from the field. Another first-half run, this time an 8-0 run that included an alley-oop dunk by Owens on a pass from Culver, followed by two layups by Culver and a Moretti layup that took the lead to 46-10.

The Red Raiders finished the game shooting 48.3 percent from the field, including going 10-for-23 on 3-pointers. Mooney was 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, while Corprew was 3-for-5. Culver, Moretti, Edwards and Brandone Francis would also knocked down 3s in the game.

DeAndre Love led Northwestern State with 11 points, while Dalin Williams added nine points and six rebounds. The Demons would shoot 4-for-27 in the first half and finished at 13-for-53. NSU was limited to 4-for-19 on 3-pointers and also committed 19 turnovers as they fell to 0-7 on the road this season.

Texas Tech is 9-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season and for only the third time in program history. The best start to a season came in 1929-30 at 12-0.  

The Red Raiders will return to action at 6 p.m. on Saturday against Abilene Christian (9-1) in the final game ever at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum and for the 27th time overall. TTU earned a 74-47 win last season in the last meeting with the first-ever game between the two West Texas programs coming on Feb. 22, 1926 that resulted in a 34-21 win by the Red Raiders.

HEAD COACH CHRIS BEARD
On the team's performance in the first half:
"I think defensively we were executing the game-plan. Everybody was bringing energy. I thought on offense, we had a lot of shots early, which always helps. We've good shooters. Then, I was really proud of the guys about mid-way through the first half. We said "hey, let's not settle though" because to win in the Big XII, you have to go to make shots. But you also have to get to the bonus, get to the free-throw line. There is a balance. I thought in the first half I would agree with you, that is about as well as we have played all year long."

On the challenge of stringing together two quality halves:
"Our theme this year is consistency, we are trying to get consistent and tonight is a great example of how we are not quite there yet. I thought the first half we played the game about as well as you can play basketball. You have to give Northwestern State credit, in the second half you could not even tell what the score was based on how hard they were playing. The coach was coaching until the end, and they gave us all we could handle in the second half and I think that is a great reflection of their character and their team and what they are about. I understand that it is hard to play with these big leads. You want to value patience, but you still want to attack. I know these games are hard but I think these players would be the first to tell you that there are a lot of things we have to do better. We have to be more disciplined when we have big leads, just like we are going to have to be very disciplined when we are on the other end of these things. It is not a matter of "if", we are going to have to show the character and the courage to make a comeback. I think consistency and discipline is what we have to find and embrace. Culver has to lead us in a lot of ways. The second half we just did not have much discipline and we were not consistent."

On Deshawn Corprew's performance:
"I've said it before and I never get tired of talking about Deshawn, he's one of our best players, he works really hard, he's made some real changes and sacrifices to play at this level. You know, he's always been the best player on the team wherever he's been. Last year, he led South Plains [College] to a National Championship. Here, as good players do, he's figuring out what he has to do to get on the floor, and he's played well for us on both ends. I think the exciting thing from a coaching standpoint is he has a whole other upside, so I have really high expectations for Deshawn. I think he's got greatness in him, and I think he's on the path towards that."

JARRETT CULVER
On the energy from Mooney's three 3's in a row:
"Matt is a great shooter. He works on his craft every day, him getting started early made for a great start for us. We were out there looking for him since he was hot and we are always looking for the hot hands. He got us off to a great start and we just built off of his energy."

On playing well the first half:
"We were locked in on defense. We had a great defense mentality. Everybody who came was flying around and playing as hard as we can. We were focusing on putting 40 minutes together."

On his leadership skills:
"My team opened up a lot for me. We got out and started running and the points came for me."

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