Red Raiders Host Omaha Wednesday At United Spirit Arena
Jamal Williams, Jr. scored 15 points in his Red Raider debut.
November 13, 2012
Opponent: Omaha Mavericks
Red Raiders Host Mavericks
The Texas Tech Red Raiders return to action Wednesday against the Omaha Mavericks at 7 p.m. at the United Spirit Arena.
The last time these two teams met was Dec. 10, 1941, in Lubbock. Ironically, that game was also on a Wednesday. It was also the first athletic event on campus following the Dec. 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Red Raiders prevailed, 42-31, behind 12 points from All-Border Conference center Byron Gilbreath.
The Red Raiders look to start the season 2-0 for the fourth time in the last five years. A win would mark the 39th 2-0 start in the 88-year history of the program.
Red Raider head coach Chris Walker will look to become the seventh coach at Texas Tech to start his career in Lubbock 2-0, joining Dell Morgan (1931), Bob Bass (1969), Gerald Myers (1971), Bob Knight (2001), Pat Knight (2008) and Billy Gillisipie (2011).
Texas Tech is coming in off of an 89-79 win over Prairie View A&M in the season opener at the United Spirit Arena. Sophomore Jordan Tolbert returned right where he left off last season, leading the team in points (16) and rebounds (7). He led four players in double figures – Jamal Williams, Jr. (15 points), Daylen Robinson (14 points) and Josh Gray (10 points).
The Mavericks will be hitting the hardwood for the third time this season, but their first on the road. Omaha dropped Northern Illinois, 77-64, on Friday to open the season, but came up on the short against St. Mary (Kan.), 96-86, on Sunday in Omaha.
Omaha, which is a member of The Summit League, has four players averaging double digits this season, led by John Karhoff (15.0 points). Other double-digit scorers are Alex Phillips (12.0 points), CJ Carter (12.0 points) and Alex Welhouse (10.5 points).
RECORD vs. OMAHA
Center Byron Gilbreath led Texas Tech with 12 points against Omaha.
Red Raider head coach Berl Huffman went on to lead Texas Tech to a second place finish in the Border Conference and an appearance in the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) tournament.
The Mavericks have started the season 1-1 after upending Northern Illinois, 77-64, on Friday to open the season, but came up on the short against St. Mary (Kan.), 96-86, on Sunday in Omaha.
The Mavericks have four players averaging double digits this season, led by John Karhoff (15.0 points). Other double-digit scorers for the Mavericks are Alex Phillips (12.0 points), CJ Carter (12.0 points) and Alex Welhouse (10.5 points).
Four of the last six Red Raider head coaches have made the jump from Texas Tech assistant coach to head coach. Walker joins Pat Knight, James Dickey and Gerald Myers to make the jump to head coach.
Omaha has two players who have ties to this region – Alex Phillips and Mike Rostampour. Phillips transferred to Omaha, after playing at New Mexico Junior College, while Rostampour played for one season at Grayson College in Denison, Texas.
These three combined to produce 48.2 percent of the offense for the Red Raiders last season.
In the season opener, the returning Red Raiders produced 34.8 percent of the scoring and 35.1 percent of the rebounding.
Prior to his injury, Gotcher was averaging 7.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists. He played in just nine games last season, including eight starts, averaging 29.9 minutes per game.
He lived up to the billing during the season opener against Prairie View A&M, as he went 7-for-7 for 16 points, while pulling down seven rebounds. It was his 17th career double-digit scoring effort while playing for the Red Raiders
Tolbert currently ranks fifth in the Big 12 Conference in scoring and 14th in rebounding.
Tolbert averaged 11.5 points per game as a freshman, to go along with 5.7 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures 16 times last season and recorded a pair of double-doubles.
He ranked in the top 15 in scoring and rebounding in the Big 12 and earned the Big 12 Conference Player of the Week honor just after Christmas.
Tolbert netted 27 points twice last season against TCU and Cal State-Bakersfield. Those two outputs rank in the top five for a freshman at Texas Tech.
In all, he netted 20 points five times last season. He ranks in the top five for Texas Tech freshman in scoring average, total points, rebounding and field goal percentage.
Texas Tech is now 60-27 in season openers, including winners of 13 straight. The Red Raiders are 13-1 all-time in season openers in the United Spirit Arena.
The Red Raiders’ win came in head coach Chris Walker’s first game.
Tolbert was 7 for 7 from the field and had seven rebounds.
Jamal Williams Jr. added 15 points for Texas Tech, including 3-pointers on three straight possessions to spark an early run that gave the Red Raiders a lead they carried through the rest of the game.
Prairie View trailed by 20 points before getting as close as eight in the second half. Carl Blair was 15 of 17 from the free-throw line and finished with 19 points for the Panthers. Ryan Gesiakowski added 18 points.
Thursday also marked the debut of first-year head coach Chris Walker, who saw his Red Raiders jump out to a 54-26 halftime lead.
Kravic, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, netted 16 points and pulled down six rebounds, while Trency Jackson chipped in 13 points, Dusty Hannahs had 12 and Daylen Robinson added 10.
Texas Tech jumped out to a 23-6 lead with 10:56 to play in the first and increased the margin to 54-26 going into the break thanks in large part to the Red Raiders’ ability to connect on 64.5 percent from the field.
The shooting went somewhat cold in the second half, as Texas Tech connected on just 14 of 38 shots from the first (36.8 percent).
In all, 12 of the 13 Red Raiders scored on the night and eight different players netted at least five points on the night for a balanced scoring attack.
Nurse recorded two points, two steals and an assist off the bench against Prairie View A&M.
After a two-year career at Midland College, Nurse transferred to Texas Tech last season, where he played in 30 games and earning 24 starts.
In his Red Raider debut, he netted 29 points against Troy in last year’s season opener. Nurse finished second on the squad in scoring (8.9 points).
Nurse is one of the nation’s best free throw shooters in the nation. He finished the year with a 90.4 percent free throw shooting average and only missed six free throws all year. At one point, he had made 27 straight. For six weeks, he led the nation in free throw percentage.
Williams, who transferred from Lake Land College, was 4 of 9 from the field and 4 of 8 from the 3-point line, while connecting on 3 of 3 from the charity stripe.
At Lake Land, Williams averaged 10.6 points, 3.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds as a sophomore last season.
Robinson, who transferred from Moberley Area Community College in Missouri, connected on 4 of 7 from the field and 5 of 6 from the line for 14 points. He also chipped in three steals, a rebound and an assist in 26 minutes of play.
Last season, Robinson averaged 11.5 points, 4.3 assists and 2.1 rebounds as a sophomore.
Gray, who was rated the 107th best recruit in the nation by ESPN.com, recorded 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals in his debut.
As a senior at Houston Wheatley High School, he averaged 24 points, six assists and three steals per game while leading Wheatley to the Texas Class 4A playoffs.
The 6-11 native of Serbia recorded nine points, seven rebounds and five blocks in the season opener. The last time a Red Raider had five blocks in a game was D’walyn Roberts against Ole Miss on March 23, 2010.
Kravic sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. He averaged 15.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks as a sophomore at York before transferring.