PREVIEW: at Kansas State

PREVIEW: at Kansas State

Matt Mooney Matt Mooney

LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 14 Texas Tech and Kansas State will meet for the second time this season at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas.

The Red Raiders (15-3, 4-2 Big 12) are coming off a 73-62 loss at Baylor last Saturday, while Kansas State (14-4, 4-2 Big 12) has won four in a row since losing to the Red Raiders in Lubbock. KSU is 9-1 on its home court this season after a 65-55 win over TCU last Saturday. Texas Tech has lost two straight games for the only time this season after also falling 68-64 against Iowa State last Wednesday after starting conference play with wins over West Virginia, KSU, Oklahoma and Texas.

TTU-KSU ROUND 1: Davide Moretti scored a career-high 19 points with three 3-pointers to lead the Red Raiders to a 63-57 win over the Wildcats on Jan. 5 in the first meeting this season between the two teams in Lubbock. TTU led 34-19 at halftime and would improve to 13-1 on the season with the win. Matt Mooney added 14 points in the win with seven points coming at the free-throw line and Jarrett Culver, Tariq Owens and Kyler Edwards scored nine points each. The Red Raiders limited KSU to 33.3 percent shooting in the game, including 4-for-23 on 3-pointers. Barry Brown led the Wildcats with 16 points in the game.

SERIES HISTORY: Kansas State leads the all-time series 23-18 over Texas Tech but the Red Raiders has now won three in a row in the series. TTU earned a 74-58 over KSU on Jan. 6, 2018 in the first game last year in Lubbock before taking a 66-47 win in Manhattan last year. It was the first time since the 2006 season that the Red Raiders took two wins over KSU in the same year. The two teams met for the first on Dec. 6, 1955 with the Wildcats taking an 89-70 win and started the series with five straight victories over the Red Raiders. TTU has won six of the last eight meetings in the series entering Tuesday's game.

STAT RANKINGS: Texas Tech's defense continues to lead nation by limiting opponents to 34.9 shooting on the season, while the team is second by holding opponents to 55.8 points per game and to 26.2 shooting on 3-pointers. The Red Raiders are 13th nationally in scoring margin at 15.8, 16th with 94 total blocks, 7th with 5.2 blocks per game and are forcing 16.22 turnovers per game which ranks as the 37th best in the country. Individually, Tariq Owens leads the Big 12 and is 11th in the nation with 46 total blocks and 12th with 2.56 blocks per game. Jarrett Culver is second in the conference with a 54.2 shooting percentage, second with 71 made free throws and third in scoring with 18.8 points per game and total points (338).

POLLS: The Red Raiders are now ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press Top-25 and ESPN Power Rankings and No. 13 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll. TTU was ranked No. 8 last week before its losses against BU and ISU. Texas Tech has now been ranked in nine straight polls after starting the season unranked and through three weeks. The Red Raiders finished the 2017-18 season at No. 14 in the final AP Poll and were at No. 6 in the last USA TODAY Coaches Poll where it spent seven weeks in its top-10 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 18.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game after going for 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists last Saturday at Baylor. Culver was 9-for-16 from the field against the Bears and has now led the team in scoring 14 times this season. He started last week with a career-high 16 rebounds and also scored 20 points against Iowa State. It was Culver's second double-double of the season and fourth of his career and was the eighth time this season he's scored 20 or more points. He also had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists against Texas on Jan. 12 following his first double-double of the season with 23 points and 13 points against Oklahoma. A Lubbock native, he is currently averaging 17.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists through six conference games. 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 17 of 18 games and is shooting 54.2 percent from the field overall and 50.0 in Big 12 play. 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 comes into the matchup at Baylor having scored 753 career points in 55 games as a Red Raider.

Davide Moretti has scored in double figures in all six Big 12 games this season after scoring 13 at Baylor and knocking down two 3-pointers and finishing with 10 points against Iowa State last week. He now has 308 points through 55 games in his career, including recording a career-high 19 points against Kansas State where he also matched a career-high with four rebounds in the first meeting between the two teams this season. Moretti is averaging 13.2 points and 1.5 assists in conference play after also going for 13 points at Texas and 12 points against the Sooners. 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 18 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 10.0 points and 2.8 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 in non-conference play. Moretti made a career-high five 3-pointers in his 17-point performance against MVSU and has scored in double figures in eight games this season and 10 in his career. He currently leads TTU with 26 3-pointers and is shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc.

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. Francis is coming off his best scoring performance of the season after going for 14 points with three 3-pointers at Baylor. He was 4-for-8 from the field and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line in the game. He was also 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 5.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game and is fourth on the team with 17 3-pointers this season for the Red Raiders. Francis had a previous 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. He has scored 292 points in 55 games in his career for the Red Raiders. An Odenton, Maryland native, Owens provided eight points, six rebounds and a block against Baylor. He had three blocks and seven points against Iowa State after having four blocks against Oklahoma and Texas. He currently has 46 blocks this season which is the eighth most in a single-season by a Red Raider behind Zach Smith (2015-16) who is seventh with 47 during that year. Tony Battie has the single-season record with 71 blocks in the 1996-97 season. Owens currently has 17 blocks in Big 12 play which is tied for 12th with Robert Lewandowski (2011-12). Owens is averaging 2.8 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 before graduating and transferring to Tech. 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 recorded the team's first double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in his eight-block performance against Memphis.

Mooney scored a season-high 22 points against Texas where he was 8-for-10 from the field with three 3-pointers but was limited to eight points against the Cyclones and two at Baylor. He opened Big 12 play with 14 points in both games against KSU and WVU and is now averaging 11.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.2 assists per game in Big 12 play. He is currently third in the Big 12 with 1.7 steals per game for the season. 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 44.9 percent from the field this season, has scored in double figures in nine games and leads the team with 31 steals after having one against the Bears. Odiase is in his fifth season at Texas Tech and has played in 108 games. He pulled down five rebounds last week against ISU and also had four points. He matched a season-high by scoring eight points against Oklahoma two weeks ago after going 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 at the free-throw line and then pulled down eight rebounds at Texas. He currently has 477 career rebounds with 81 this season. A Fort Worth native, Odiase is averaging 4.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game and is shooting 54.2 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 would finish with six points against the Cyclones after hitting two 3-pointers early in the second half to get the Red Raiders back into the game.

Kyler Edwards leads the TTU reserves with 6.3 points per game in his freshman season after going for nine against ISU and four at Baylor. He also 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. A freshman from Arlington, he has scored nine or more points in eight 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 43.2 percent from the field with 13 3-pointers. Texas Tech sophomore Deshawn Corprew played only four minutes in Austin before exiting with an injury and did not play against ISU, but returned at Baylor. He would play only eight minutes and scored two points. A transfer from South Plains College, he had previously played in all 16 games and is averaging 5.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Corprew had a career-night where he recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against UTRGV. Corprew, who made his first career start in that game 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. Texas Tech freshman Khavon Moore made his first appearance of the season last Wednesday where he played two minutes against Iowa State but did not play at Baylor. A Macon, Georgia native, Moore has been working through an injury that had sidelined him through the first 16 games of the season.

KANSAS STATE REPORT: (CLICK FOR KSU's GAME PREVIEW) The Wildcats currently have the longest winning streak in the Big 12 after running off four straight wins after their loss in Lubbock. KSU earned its 10-point win over TCU on Saturday with Xavier Sneed leading the team with 18, while Dean Wade had 16 and Barry Brown added 10. Brown was named the Big 12 Player of the Week last Monday and led the Wildcats with 16 points in the first matchup against the Red Raiders. Brown is averaging 18.5 points per game in conference play and 15.4 through all 18 games, while Wade is at 12.7 points per conference game. Wade did not play against the Red Raiders on Jan. 2 due to injury, but returned for the first time against Iowa State. He was limited to two points in that game, but then went off for 20 against Oklahoma before his 16 against TCU. He was named the Big 12 Co-Player of the Week on Monday. Kamau Stokes is adding 10.5 points and 3.4 assists, while Sneed is at 10.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game from the starting lineup. Stokes is sixth in the conference with a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. Brown, who was named Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 14, scored a season-high 29 points against West Virginia and put up 25 against OU by going 11-for-19 from the field with three 3-pointers. He's currently second in the Big 12 with 33 total steals and fifth in scoring.
Kansas State is averaging 73.6 points per game and is limiting its opponents to 67.6 points and 38.7 percent shooting. The Wildcats will travel to College Station to play Texas A&M on Saturday in the Big12/SEC Challenge before returning to conference play at Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 2 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

COVERING THE RED RAIDERS: Texas Tech and Baylor will be televised on ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla 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.
 

UP NEXT: Texas Tech will return to action against Arkansas at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge at the United Supermarkets Arena. The Red Raiders are currently 10-1 at home this season and has won 46 straight non-conference home games dating back to a 100-69 win over Mount St. Mary's on Dec. 30, 2013 at the USA.

--TECH--

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