RECAP: No. 24 Red Raiders 71, Southern Miss 65
Chris Clarke recorded his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Terrence Shannon, Jr. added 18 points and five rebounds to help lead the No. 24-ranked Red Raiders to a 71-65 non-conference win over Southern Miss on Monday at the United Supermarkets Arena.
The Red Raiders (7-3) extended their non-conference home winning streak to 52 games and are now 5-0 at home this season after overcoming a seven-point halftime deficit against the Golden Eagles (3-9). Clarke would add six assists to his double-double and Davide Moretti knocked down three second-half 3-pointers in a game where he struggled shooting but finished with 17 points by going 6-for-6 at the free-throw line.
Tech, which finished the game 24 of 27 at the free-throw line, trailed throughout the first half and were down 51-50 with 9:42 to play before Kyler Edwards made a layup that gave them the lead that it would hold the rest of the game. Up 54-51 after a pair of TJ Holyfield free throws, the Red Raiders expanded their lead to 61-54 with Shannon making a jumper with 4:45 remaining. The lead would go down to two with 2:45 on the clock but was followed by Holyfield knocking down a jumper and Moretti making it 67-60 with a 3-pointer with 55 seconds to play.
Holyfield finished the game with nine points and five rebounds, while Edwards also had nine points and added two assists and two steals. Moretti scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and Clarke had 10 points and five rebounds in the second half. The Red Raiders finished the game shooting 37.5 percent from the field and were only 5-for-22 on 3-pointers, while the Golden Eagles shot 47.3 percent and were 5 of 16 on 3-pointers. USM was 8-for-12 from the free-throw line and were unable to overcome 16 turnovers – seven coming in the second half.
LaDavius Draine led the Golden Eagles with 21 points after going 8-for-14 from the field, while Gabe Watson finished with 20 and Leonard Harper-Baker had nine points and nine rebounds. USM led by as many as eight points in the first half but were unable to pull off the upset after being limited to 2-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc in the second half.
Texas Tech trailed 32-25 at halftime after shooting just 7-for-30 from the field (23.3 percent) and 2 of 15 on 3-pointers, while USM was at 13-for-26 with three 3-pointers. The Red Raiders, who were down 9-2 before a 10-0 run to take a three-point lead, trailed at halftime for the fourth time this season and were down only seven after going 9-for-10 at the free-throw line. Shannon led the Red Raiders at halftime with eight points and also had four rebounds, while Clarke had six rebounds and four points. Moretti had four points after struggling from the field at 1-for-12 and 0 of 7 on 3-pointers, while Edwards had three points after going 1-for-5 on 3-pointers. Watson led the Golden Eagles with 13 points and Draine added nine for the team as they took a seven-point lead into the break. USM went on an 11-0 run in the first half to take a 20-12 lead and led by seven at halftime on a Watson 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Red Raiders will return to action at 1 p.m. on Saturday against UTRGV at the USA. Tech is 6-0 all-time against the Vaqueros after earning a 71-46 win last season and is 47-22 against current Western Athletic Conference opponents.
Coach Chris Beard
On the game against Southern Miss: "They are a team and have a coach I respect. We played his team last year and it was a very similar game for about 30 minutes. Coach knows what he's doing. I want to tell the players how much I respect and enjoyed watching them play tonight. They were a man down with one of their best post players not playing tonight, one of their best shooters. It was evident to me from the tip they came in here to win. I think a lot of time we sit around and feel sorry for ourselves we are disrespecting the opponent. Southern Miss. played great tonight, had a game plan and had they played harder than us in a lot of stretches of the game, we really don't say that about our teams much, but that's exactly what happen."
On the second half: "We wanted to get back to the original game plan which was to try to play pressure defense to create some offense and try to play each possession like it has a life its self. We also wanted to pay attention to the important shooters and I thought we did that for the most part in the second half. Late, number 11 got away from us a little bit, he's a great shooter. We reminded the guys on offense that we would like to get to the free throw line. This isn't a three point shooting contest out there. On a night that we struggled, I see a lot of things we need to clean up. I do think the free throw line won the game for us tonight, I think we were 24 for 27 and that's exactly what we had to do on a night when the jump shot wasn't going down."
On the energy of Terrence Shannon brought: "I would like to think that all of our players play with energy. T.J. is a guy who is playing great for us in his freshman year. We need more consistency; we need him to play better. That doesn't put all of the pressure on the young guy's shoulders, but I think he understands the role he has right now and the opportunity. He made some great plays tonight with his heart and hustle."
On the start of the game: "We had a game plan, but I don't think we were ready to come out and play today. I do not think we were mentally ready."
On the team's start to the game: "We had a game plan that we didn't execute in the first half and that's why we were down seven at half time. We didn't come out in the right way and that's why you're down at half time I guess."
On making three 3-pointers in the second half: "It comes from my confidence. I know how much time I spend in the gym how hard I work and when I'm not shooting well I just repeat to myself that I have worked too hard to not do good and shoot well and I will pay the price everyday, it's not just a mental thing everything comes from my confidence."