Texas Tech (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) faced a tough test in its home Big 12 opener against Kansas State (10-4, 0-2), who returned some key players from last year’s team that went to the Elite 8.
The Red Raiders met the challenge with a 63-57 win over Kansas State on Saturday in Lubbock.
Here are three takeaways from the Red Raiders’ win:
Two top-10 defenses live up to expectations
Texas Tech’s Big 12 home-opener against Kansas State pit two of the country’s top 10 scoring defenses against each other.
The Red Raiders rank second in the nation, allowing 52.3 points per game while Kansas State ranks sixth, allowing 57.8 points per game.
Both defenses flexed their muscles in Lubbock.
Texas Tech’s defense took control early, holding Kansas State scoreless for nearly six-and-a-half minutes to open the game. The Wildcats didn’t hit their first field goal until almost 11 minutes through the first half off a breakaway layup by guard Cartier Diarra.
Kansas State’s defense responded with a run of its own, holding the Red Raiders scoreless for nearly five minutes and cutting their 17-3 lead down to 17-10.
Texas Tech got the final word defensively, holding Kansas State to 33.3 percent shooting and 4-23 shooting from beyond the arc, two of which came in the final minute when the game was out of reach.
Jarrett Culver has an off-day
For the second straight game, guard Jarrett Culver had a rough first half.
Culver, who came into the game averaging a team-high 19.5 points per game, shot 1-for-5 in the first half, for four points and added five rebounds. His only made field goal came off an offensive rebound, which led to a putback layup.
Against West Virginia on Wednesday, Culver missed the only shot he attempted in the first half and went scoreless in the period, largely due to less time on the floor because of foul trouble. However, Culver recovered in the second half to score all of his team-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
He didn’t have the same recovery against Kansas State.
Culver finished the game with nine points and seven rebounds and shot 2-for-7 from the floor. His struggles translated to the free-throw line, as he hit five of his 10 attempts. He had made 72 percent of his attempts prior to the game.
Davide Moretti’s career day saves Texas Tech
With Culver having a subpar game, Davide Moretti picked the right day to have a career game.
The sophomore from Bologna, Italy scored a career-high 19 points on 7-11 shooting and hit some crucial shots to stop a final push from Kansas State.
After Kansas State’s Barry Brown Jr. hit a 3-pointer to cut what was once a double-digit lead for Texas Tech down to one, Moretti countered with a 3-pointer of his own. He followed with a difficult layup that helped ignite a 7-0 run for the Red Raiders.
Moretti also made late key plays defensively with two steals that helped seal the win.
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