Texas Tech crushes Arkansas-Pine Bluff 94-54
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — First it was Zach Smith and Norense Odiase emerging as consistent frontcourt scorers for Texas Tech this season.
Reserve forward Aaron Ross has joined that pair, scoring a career-high 15 points in Texas Tech’s 94-54 drubbing of the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday afternoon.
This was the first time this season that Odiase, Smith and Ross all scored in double-digits in the same game. It was also the first time this year that all five Texas Tech starters scored in double-digits in the same game.
Smith and Odiase finished with 12 points apiece and Ross was assisted three times by 6-foot-10 walk-on Matthew Temple.
“I thought Matt Temple did an excellent job of dumping the ball inside to Ross,” Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said. “I was pleased with the interior passing. Zach (Smith), Norense (Odiase). They do a good job. We probably had a few more, but Norense, all he made was jumpshots today.”
In his second appearance after becoming eligible for Texas Tech this week, Temple played 17 minutes and finished with six points, three rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.
Temple is Texas Tech’s second tallest player, and the only true center that can spell Odiase since Isaiah Manderson left the program in November.
“We need (Temple) to step up and give us a presence, a physical presence,” Smith said. “I was probably more impressed with his defense because he really works to keep the ball out of the post. He’s got good footwork to be able to keep people in front of him and he’s fundamentally sound.”
Devaugntah Williams and Toddrick Gotcher both had 11 points for Texas Tech (8-1), while Keenan Evans added 10.
“We were just executing what we went over,” Williams said. “High-low. Zach and Norense. One of them shows high, the other just dive into their man. It was just there tonight. The guards, we were patient moving the ball around the perimeter and keeping the floor spaced.”
During its current five-game losing streak, Pine Bluff (2-10) is losing by an average of 25.8 points.
Trent Whiting led the Golden Lions with 15 points. Deshon Bayless and Jaquan Lynch had 10 points apiece.
Texas Tech led 52-19 at halftime and closed the first half on a 14-0 run. The Golden Lions had four turnovers during a scoreless streak of 3:23 at the end of the period.
The Red Raiders led by as many at 47 points and outrebounded Pine Bluff 35-28.
“We did a good job on their best players,” Smith said. “You talk about an identity. I think that’s where we have to hang our hat — on our defense. If we can defend like this on a regular basis, we’ll be in most games.”
Texas Tech was without reserve guard C.J. Williamson, who sat on Wednesday against South Dakota State and was not on the bench Saturday because of an academic eligibility issue.
“He still has a meeting next week to determine his status,” Smith said. “Disappointed that hasn’t gotten done, but that’s the way it goes. Hopefully everything will work out.”
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: For the second season in a row, Pine Bluff will play its first 18 games on the road. Before hosting Southern University on Jan. 16, the Golden Lions will have played in 13 different states.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are 5-0 during their current eight-game home stand. They next play on the road Jan. 6 at Iowa State.
THE EXPLOSIVE 12
Entering Saturday, the Big 12 had at least five teams ranked in the Top 25 for 24 consecutive weeks. It is also the nation’s leading scoring conference, with each member averaging 72.9 points or better.
Texas Tech hosts Little Rock on Tuesday.
Pine Bluff visits Ohio University on Monday.