Texas Tech rallies to hand Hawaii its first loss, 82-74
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Hawaii was gouging Texas Tech off the dribble, building up a double-digit first-half lead.
A temporary switch from man-to-man defense to a zone helped the Red Raiders launch a comeback that resulted in an 82-74 win Saturday afternoon — handing Hawaii its first loss in the process.
“We couldn’t guard anybody,” Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said of his team’s defense early.
Texas Tech’s Devaugntah Williams scored 19 points and forward Norense Odiase tied a career-high with 16 points. Four Red Raiders scored in double-digits.
Texas Tech (4-1) trailed for nearly 17 minutes starting early in the first half. It took its first second-half lead on a Williams 3-point play that made it 47-45 with 17:45 left.
Hawaii’s Aaron Valdes led all scorers with 25 points and Isaac Fleming scored 21 points.
The Rainbow Warriors (4-1) entered the game with their best start since 2010-11. It was disrupted during their first trip to Lubbock.
Texas Tech sophomore Justin Gray was without the knee brace he had been wearing this season because of tendinitis and finished with 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes.
In the first four games of this season, Gray sat once and played an average of 11 minutes in the other three games.
″(Gray) raised our level of intensity with his activity around the basket,” Tubby Smith said. “Diving for loose balls. He led us in deflections. Even with 19 minutes. He was active. And that’s what we’ve been lacking.”
Hawaii had three players foul out, including starting guard Roderick Bobbitt.
Bobbitt, who recorded two double-doubles this season and entered the game leading the Big West in steals and assists, fouled out with 3:35 left. Bobbitt finished with four points, seven assists, eight rebounds and three steals.
“Some of the fouls we got were over-the-backs,” Hawaii coach Eran Ganot said. “Some of the bad fouls when you miss a good shot and we send them to the line without having to work for it.”
Texas Tech made 30 of 38 free throws and caused 14 turnovers while committing 12.
Zach Smith finished with 15 points for Texas Tech and Williams tied Aaron Ross for the team lead in rebounds with seven.
Odiase and Zach Smith combined to score 10 of Texas Tech’s first 13 points and finished the first half with 10 points each.
“Coach made an emphasis of getting the ball inside first,” Odiase said.
Two dunks — one each from Odiase and Smith — sandwiched a pair of Gray free throws in the first period’s final minute to cut the Hawaii lead to 41-40 at halftime.
“I think he had an advantage with his size,” Tubby Smith said of Odiase. “His strength. And bulk inside. And really got (Hawaii forward) Stefan Jankovic in foul trouble. He was finishing at the basket.”
Texas Tech: Coach Tubby Smith announced Friday that forward Isaiah Manderson, Odiase’s backup, would be unavailable against Hawaii because he was home evaluating his future at Texas Tech ... The game was the first of an eight-game homestand. The Red Raiders do not play a road game until Jan. 6 at Iowa State.
Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors last faced a Big 12 school in a 2008 win against Iowa State. Hawaii has not won a non-conference mainland game since 2013.
Texas Tech hosts Sam Houston State Wednesday.
Hawaii hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff Wednesday.
BACK FROM VACATION
This was the Red Raiders’ first game since three contests at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Texas Tech lost to Utah and beat Mississippi State and Minnesota in Puerto Rico.
SMITH AGAINST HAWAII
Tubby Smith coached against Hawaii twice previously. His Tulsa team split both games against the Rainbow Warriors in 1992.
CLEARED, BUT UNUSED
Texas Tech redshirt sophomore Rokas Ulvydas, a Kaunas, Lithuania native, became eligible this week but did not play.