Texas Tech Men’s Basketball Tops Richmond, Takes Winning Streak to 9
Texas Tech played six games in December. They won all six by double digits.
Player of the game Devaugntah Williams piled up a game-leading 17 points and pulled in 8 rebounds as the Texas Tech men's basketball team collected an 85-70 victory over Richmond on Tuesday December 29th at the snowy confines of the USA.
This consistent scoring output has been a surprising upgrade over the 2014-2015 Texas Tech squad, as the Red Raiders have had at least four players rack up double figures in seven of the nine games in the winning streak.
Texas Tech (10-1), who is now receiving votes in both Top 25 polls, has out rebounded its opponents by double digits in three straight games.
"They were really focused. I've been pleased with our concentration level," Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said. "This group is maturing, and they are getting more experience. We are starting three sophomores. Toddrick [Gotcher Sr.] got in foul trouble early, and we are able to insert Justin Gray, another sophomore, and not miss a beat. I’m really pleased with that."
The focus is something that Smith is very pleased with.
"There aren't a lot of distractions. It's all basketball. They start talking to each other about basketball. That’s a sign of a team that is starting to trust one another," he said. "I was really impressed with our rebounding today. That has been something we have struggled with most of the season, but we really stepped up and dominated the boards. They are playing unselfishly and executing the game plan."
Norense Odiase, Keenan Evans and Zach Smith all contributed big games. Smith's game marked the first time in his career that he's strung together four consecutive games in double figures.
Richmond (8-4) was led by ShawnDre’ Jones’ 16 points. Terry Allen, the Spiders' leading scorer averaging over 20 points per game, was limited to 13 points.
"[Zach Smith] is a kid that plays with a motor,” Smith said. “He plays multiple positions for us, and I thought he did a good job on Terry Allen early. He was able to get him in foul trouble, and I thought that was huge for us. Zach is a very active player, and he led us in deflections on the defensive end. Offensively, Zach can catch passes and finish around the rim. I was very pleased with him. He is logging a lot of minutes. Tonight, he played over 30 minutes again. We needed him to play well, and he did."
After giving up the game’s opening bucket, the Red Raiders raced back with 11 of the next 12 points to snatch an 11-3 lead that would hold for the rest of the night.
The Red Raiders took its largest lead of the opening 20 minutes at 37-19 with 5:48 to go on a C.J. Williamson driving layup on a delayed fastbreak. Richmond responded with 10 of the last 14 points to slice the Tech lead down to 41-29 at halftime.
The Spiders would not get within single digits the rest of the way but pulled back to 10 points three times before a Williams reverse layup inside the closing minute for the final margin of 85-70.
"It sets our confidence level pretty high, especially going into Texas this weekend because Richmond was a good team," Williams said. "This was a good victory. We are going to keep working hard like we’ve been doing."