LUBBOCK, Texas – The first day of the Spring 2019 semester at Texas Tech will be capped by the No. 8-ranked Red Raiders hosting Iowa State at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the United Supermarkets Arena.
The Red Raiders (15-1, 4-0 Big 12) are coming off a 68-62 win over Texas and 66-59 victory over Oklahoma last week and will now host ISU before traveling to Waco to play Baylor on Saturday. TTU is currently 10-0 at home this season coming into the game against the Cyclones (12-4, 2-2 Big 12), including home wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma in conference play. The Red Raiders are 43-4 on their home court under head coach Chris Beard who improved to 60-25 at TTU with the victory at Texas last Saturday that snapped a 22-game losing streak in Austin. The Red Raiders are 4-0 in Big 12 play for only the second time in program history (2003-04) and would become the first team in TTU history to open conference play with five straight wins with a victory over the Cyclones. The team is also 15-1 for only the second time in program history with the 1995-96 going 30-1 before finishing the season at 30-2 with a loss to Georgetown in the NCAA Sweet 16. ISU is looking to snap a two-game losing streak after falling to Baylor and Kansas State following a 77-60 win over Kansas back on Jan. 5.
PREGAME PARTY: The debut of Fireside Live will be at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Chimy's with Beard and Geoff Haxton previewing the game and interacting with Texas Tech students and fans. The event is being streamed live on TexasTech.com.
SERIES HISTORY: Texas Tech and Iowa State split last year's series with the Red Raiders winning 76-58 in Lubbock on Feb. 7, 2018 after the Cyclones had won 70-52 in Ames in mid-January. ISU owns a 19-14 all-time advantage over TTU, including a 77-52 win back on Dec. 8, 1955 in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Last year's win was highlighted by 21 points and eight rebounds from Zhaire Smith for the Red Raiders, while Jarrett Culver had 16 points.
POLLS/STAT RANKINGS: Through 16 games Texas Tech has only one loss, is the top defensive team in the nation by limiting opponents to 33.8 percent shooting and remains at No. 8 in the Associated Press Top-25 and No. 4 in the NCAA NET Rankings. The Red Raiders also moved up two spots to No. 6 in the ESPN Power Rankings but dropped one spot in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll to No. 9. TTU is currently second in the nation by holding teams to 54.0 points per game and to 25.4 shooting on 3-pointers, while they are ninth with an 18.7 scoring margin advantage, 15th with 86 total blocks and 28th by forcing 16.88 turnovers per game. TTU is second in the Big 12 with a 3.8 turnover margin advantage, a 71.4 free-throw percentage and is third offensively by shooting 47.8 percent from the field. Defensively, an opponent has still not scored over 70 points this season.
Individually, Texas Tech senior Tariq Owens ranks 11th nationally with 42 total blocks and 2.63 blocks per game. He leads the Big 12 with his 2.63 blocks per game, while Jarrett Culver is third in the conference with 18.7 points per game and is fourth with 65 total assists. Culver is also third with 299 points and 81 field goals made through 16 games. Matt Mooney is third in the Big 12 with 1.88 steals per game and has is 73rd nationally with 30 total steals.
Texas Tech has now been ranked in eight straight polls after starting the season unranked and through three weeks. The Red Raiders finished the 2017-18 season at No. 6 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll and were in its Top-10 rankings seven times during the season. The No. 6 ranking to finish the season matched a program-best set on Feb. 12, 2018 in the USA TODAY Coaches poll and on Feb. 19, 2018 in the AP Top 25 Poll.
PLAYER NOTES: Jarrett Culver leads the Red Raiders with 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game after recording 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists against Texas last Saturday following his first double-double of the season with 23 points and a career-high 13 points on Tuesday against Oklahoma. Culver now has three career double-doubles and is currently averaging 16.0 points and 8.8 rebounds through four conference games. A sophomore from Lubbock, he had 16 points, five rebounds and three assists in the last game between Tech and Iowa State. Culver is on the John R. Wooden Award, Jerry West Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy and Lute Olson Award watch lists, was named to the Sporting News Midseason All-America second-team and earned Big 12 Preseason Honorable Mention honors. He has scored in double figures in 15 of 16 games, led the Red Raiders in scoring in 13 and has scored over 20 points in seven games. Culver recorded a career-high with 30 points against Abilene Christian on Dec. 20 where he went 12-for-13 from the field and hit four 3-pointers. He was named the Big 12 Player of the Week after the performance and followed it by going to New York and scoring 25 points against Duke. Culver, who is shooting 56.3 percent from the field and 38.0 percent on 3-pointers, comes into the matchup against Texas having scored 714 career points in 53 games as a Red Raider.
After losing five seniors off last season's NCAA Elite Eight team, Texas Tech found a way to remain a veteran team through recruiting by adding graduate transfers Matt Mooney (University of South Dakota) and Tariq Owens (St. John's) to go along with returners Norense Odiase and Brandone Francis to make up a senior class of four for the Red Raiders. Mooney is coming off a season-high 22 points against Texas where he was 8-for-10 from the field with three 3-pointers. He opened Big 12 play with 14 points in both games against KSU and WVU and is now averaging 14.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in Big 12 play. He is currently third in the Big 12 with 1.9 steals per game. An Illinois native, Mooney started his career at Air Force before playing two seasons at South Dakota where he led his team in scoring both years. He is shooting 46.1 percent from the field this season, has scored in double figures in nine games and leads the team with 30 steals after having two against the Longhorns. An Odenton, Maryland native, Owens had four blocks against Texas and Oklahoma last week after having eight rebounds and three blocks against KSU. Owens is averaging 3.3 blocks and 7.3 points per game in Big 12 play after also scoring 12 in the win over the Longhorns to go along with his four blocks. He led the BIG EAST the past two seasons in blocked shots and currently leads Big 12 and is 11th nationally with 2.63 blocks per game (42 total). He established a new Texas Tech single-game record with eight blocks in the win over Memphis on Dec. 1 in Miami after starting his Red Raider career with six blocks against Incarnate Word in the season opener. Owens is averaging 8.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in his first season in Lubbock. He had a season-high 18 points against Southern Cal and has recorded the team's first double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in his eight-block performance against Memphis.
Odiase is in his fifth season at Texas Tech and has played in 106 games. He matched a season-high by scoring eight points against Oklahoma after going 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 at the free-throw line last Tuesday and then pulled down eight rebounds against the Longhorns. He currently has 470 career rebounds with 74 this season. A Fort Worth native, Odiase is averaging 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game and is shooting 57.1 percent from the field. He had a career-high 13 rebounds in the win over Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 13 after a 10-rebounds performance against Mississippi Valley State. Odiase scored seven points to go along with his seven rebounds against Duke after going 3-for-4 from the field. Francis has played a valuable reserve role in his senior season and is coming off a week where he had five points and three assists against the Longhorns after scoring eight second-half points against Oklahoma. Francis was 2-for-3 on 3-pointers in the game against OU and helped spark the Red Raiders to the win. A Dominican Republic native, he started his career at Florida before transferring to Lubbock where he averaged 5.1 points per game with 33 3-pointers as a junior during the Elite 8 run, including a career-high 17 points in the win over West Virginia. He's currently averaging 5.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game for the Red Raiders. Francis had a season-high 13 points in the opener against UIW and would contribute 10 points and a career-high six assists in the neutral-court win over Memphis.
Texas Tech sophomore Davide Moretti is averaging 14.0 points and 1.5 assists in conference play after going for 13 points last Saturday at Texas. He also 12 points against the Sooners last Tuesday after recording a career-high 19 points against Kansas State where he also matched a career-high with four rebounds. Moretti was 7-for-11 from the field with three 3-pointers against the Wildcats and followed it with two more 3-pointers and going 4-for-4 at the free-throw line against OU. Against Texas, Moretti was 3-for-6 on 3-pointers and also led the Red Raiders with three steals. He started Big 12 play by hitting a 3-pointer with two minutes remaining to give the Red Raiders a 55-54 lead at West Virginia. Moretti finished the game at WVU with 12 points after hitting two 3-pointers to give him 15 for the season. Moretti has started all 15 games for the Red Raiders this season after making one start in 37 games played as a freshman. A coach's son from Italy, Moretti is averaging 9.8 points and 2.3 assists per game in his second season with the program. He had previously scored a career-high 17 points in wins over Southern Cal and Mississippi Valley State and has two games with six assists. Moretti made a career-high five 3-pointers in his 17-point performance against MVSU and has scored in double figures in four games. He currently leads TTU with 23 3-pointers and is shooting 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Kyler Edwards leads the TTU reserves with 6.3 points per game to start his freshman season. He scored nine points with a 3-pointer and a 4-for-4 performance at the free-throw line for his Big 12-high against KSU but was held scoreless against OU and Texas. A freshman from Arlington, he has scored nine or more points in seven games this season and has recorded four double-digit scoring performances. Edwards recorded a career-high 19 points against Northern Colorado where he went 7-for-7 from the field with four 3-pointers. Edwards is shooting 43.4 percent from the field with 12 3-pointers. Texas Tech sophomore Deshawn Corprew played only four minutes in Austin before exiting with an injury. A transfer from South Plains College, he has played in all 16 games and is averaging 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He had a career-night where he recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against UTRGV but has been held to two points at WVU, three against KSU, four against OU to start of conference play. Corprew, who made his first career start against UTRGV, was 6-for-8 from the field to match a previous career-high of 13 points that he also had against Northern Colorado. He also pulled down four offensive and six defensive rebounds for a new career-high in rebounding in the last non-conference game before Big 12 play.
IOWA STATE QUICK TAKE (Cyclone.com Notes): Marial Shayok leads the Cyclones with 19.4 points per game and is also averaging 5.4 rebounds, while Michael Jacobson is at 6.1 rebounds and 13.6 points per game. ISU was on a five-game winning streak that included opening Big 12 play with wins over Oklahoma State and Kansas before dropping the two games last week. The Cyclones are averaging 79.8 points per game and are shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 36.3 on 3-pointers. Nick Weiler-Babb leads the team with 68 assists, while Tyrese Haliburton has 66. Weiler-Babb is at 9.6 points per game and Haliburton is scoring 8.4 from the starting lineup. Iowa State will return to action this weekend when it hosts Oklahoma State at 5 p.m. on Saturday in Ames, Iowa.
COVERING THE RED RAIDERS: Texas Tech and Iowa State will be televised on ESPNU with Clay Matvick and Tim Welsh calling the game. On the radio, Geoff Haxton and Chris Level will broadcast on Texas Tech Sports Network's flagship station Double T 97.3 in Lubbock. Fans can interact with the broadcast by following @GunsUpRadio on Twitter.