Texas Tech Opens Play In Progressive Legends Classic

Jordan Tolbert will lead the Red Raiders against Texas Southern on Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.

November 17, 2013

Texas Tech vs. Texas Southern | Texas Tech Notes | TSU Notes | Progressive Legends Classic Notes
Date/Time: Monday, November 18, 2013 / 8 p.m.
Location: Lubbock, Texas (United Spirit Arena / 15,098)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports
     Brian Hanni (Play-By-Play) & Chris Level (Analyst)
Satellite Radio: None
Television: ESPNU - Doug Bell (Play-by-Play), Reid Gettys (Analyst)
Channel: Suddenlink (503), AT&T U-Verse (605), Direct TV (208), Dish Network (141)
On The Web: Live in-game statistics and other coverage can be found at www.texastech.com
Live Stats: http://www.texastechstats.com/
Rankings: Texas Tech: (RPI: 225). Texas Southern (RPI: 268).
Head Coaches: Texas Tech: Tubby Smith (Career: 513-227 in 23rd season; at Texas Tech: 2-1 in first season.)
Texas Southern: Mike Davis (Career: 256-167 in 14 seasons; at TSU: 19-16 in two seasons.)
Against TSU: This is the first-ever meeting between Texas Tech and Texas Southern; Tubby Smith is 0-0 all-time vs. Texas Southern.

Texas Tech returns home to compete in the first round of the Progressive Legends Classic, a four-game exempt tournament operated by the Gazelle Group. This is the Red Raiders second appearance in the event. Texas Tech also played in the 2008 edition of the tournament, finishing third with a 3-1 record. Texas Tech will host Texas Southern (2-2) Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPNU in the first round and then host South Dakota State (0-3) at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest Plus on Thursday in the second round. The Red Raiders will advance to face Pittsburgh (2-0) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. CT in the semifinals, before facing either Houston (3-0) or Stanford (2-1) in the finals on Nov. 26. Ironically, Texas Tech also faced Pittsburgh in the tournament semifinals in 2008, with the Panthers edging out the Red Raiders, 80-67.

Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith will rekindle an old rivalry with Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis. When Smith was the head coach at Kentucky and Davis was the head coach at Indiana, the two squared off six times, with Smith winning five of six meetings, but Davis won the last time they met on Dec. 10, 2005, when No. 18 Indiana upset No. 15 Kentucky, 79-53, at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind. Monday is the first time since the two met on Dec. 22, 2000, that neither coach has a team with a national ranking entering the contest.

Robert Turner has made an immediate impact since joining the Red Raider roster from New Mexico Junior College. Tubby Smith’s first signee last May is currently leading the team in scoring (15.7 ppg), assists (2.7). He has scored in double figures in each of his first three games for the Red Raiders. He notched 12 points in the season opener against Houston Baptist and then went for 21 against Northern Arizona, when he connected on 5 of 6 3-pointers and connected on 8 of 11 from the field. Turner added 14 points, two assists, two steals and two rebounds at Alabama.

Monday’s meeting is the first-ever meeting between Texas Tech and Texas Southern.

Texas Tech is 10-0 all-time against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference — Alcorn State (1-0), Jackson State (1-0), Grambling (2-0) and Prairie View A&M  (6-0).

Texas Southern is the defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion. The Tigers are currently 2-2 on the season and could easily be 4-0 after both Miami and Florida International came from behind to win at home. Texas Southern will be playing their third straight road game in five days after taking on Miami on Thursday, Florida International on Saturday and Texas Tech on Monday. The Tigers are one of the highest scoring teams in the nation, averaging 92.3 points per game. Texas Southern has four players averaging double figures, led by former West Virginia Mountaineer Aaric Murray (24.3 ppg/6.3 rpg). Joining him in double figures is junior college transfer Jose Rodriguez (18.0 ppg/7.7 rpg), former Oklahoma State Cowboy Ray Penn (17.3 ppg/8.3 apg) and  senior Lawrence Johnson-Danner (13.7 ppg/2.3 rpg). Texas Southern is basically playing with a seven-man rotation made up of five seniors and two juniors.

Texas Southern’s roster features two players that Texas Tech fans should be familiar with — Ray Penn and Aaric Murray. Penn played at Oklahoma State from 2009-11, while Murray played last season at West Virginia. Penn went the conventional way, redshirted and sat out a year and was a key contributor on the Tigers’ 2013 Southwestern Athletic Conference title run last season. Murray graduated from West Virginia and is pursuing a master’s degree at Texas Southern, while exhausting his eligibility for the Tigers. Penn had the rare double-double of 29 points and 11 dimes against Wiley College on Veterans Day. It was his second double-digit assist performance of the season, after notching 10 assists against Norfolk State in the season opener. Penn has faced the Red Raiders three times, including a 12-point effort while with OSU on
Jan. 9, 2010. Murray faced the Red Raiders three times last season, notching 12 points in Lubbock on Feb. 2 and 11 points at the Big 12 Championships.

Texas Tech has netted 133 points in the paint through the first three games, after pouring in 50 in the season opener on Friday, then picking up another 43 against Northern Arizona and another 40 at Alabama. The 50 points is the most points in the paint for a Red Raider team since Nov. 19, 2009, when Texas Tech rolled past Northwestern State, 94-75, at United Spirit Arena. That night the Red Raiders drained 52 points in the paint. It spans 126 games between 50-point paint efforts for the Red Raiders. The last time Texas Tech scored at least 130 points in the paint over a three-game span, it poured in 162 points in the paint against Sam Houston State (40, 11/17/08), East Central (90, 11/20/08) and Eastern Kentucky (32, 11/22/08) which is 154 games between points in the paint efforts. Ironically, the East Central and Eastern Kentucky games were the first and second round games of the Legends Classic the last time Texas Tech participated in the event.

Texas Tech dominated the boards the first two games of the season. The Red Raiders out-boarded Houston Baptist, 42-33, (+9) and Northern Arizona, 33-23 (+10). It is the largest rebounding margin (+11) since out-rebounding North Carolina A&T, 49-22, on Dec. 28, 2012 (22 games). But the last time Texas Tech out-rebounded its opponent by nine or more rebounds on consecutive nights was last season against Omaha (+21, 11/14/12) and Grambling State (+19, 11/20/12). Texas Tech was out-rebounded by Alabama on the road, 32-26, last Thursday. For the season, Texas Tech is averaging 33.7 rebounds per game and have a rebounding margin of +4.4 through three games this season.

Texas Tech has three players averaging 10 points or more per game through three games and another four players each chipping in at least 5.0 points per game. Leading the way is junior college transfer Robert Turner, who is averaging 15.7 points per game, while junior Jordan Tolbert adds a healthy 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds a night. Jaye Crockett contributes 11.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while starters Dejan Kravic and Dusty Hannahs add 6.0 points and 8.7 points, respectively. Sixth Man Jamal Williams, Jr. is adding 5.3 points, while Toddrick Gotcher are adds 5.0 points per game. In all, the Red Raiders are averaging 76.0 points per game, which is a full 10 points per game higher than last season’s squad.

Texas Tech has only had a positive assist to turnover ratio 12 times over the last 62 games heading into last Friday’s game with Houston Baptist. In the debut of the Tubby Smith edition of the Red Raiders, Texas Tech had 12 assists and just 10 turnovers. It is the first positive ratio since the Red Raiders had 15 assists and 11 turnovers against TCU on March 2, 2013. The 10 turnovers are the fewest since committing 10 turnovers against Oklahoma on Feb. 20, 2013. Texas Tech then answered that with a 19-assist, 10-turnover performance on Monday against Northern Arizona. The last time Texas Tech had back-to-back games of 10 or fewer turnovers in a game came at Baylor (9, 02/16/10) and at home against Texas (7, 2/20/10) – a span of 102 games. For the season, Texas Tech has 41 assists and 36 turnovers. Despite having a negative assist to turnover ration against Alabama, Texas Tech had fewer turnovers than its opponent for the third straight game. The last time Texas Tech had fewer turnovers than its opponent for three consecutive games, was during the 2010-11 seasons against St. Mary’s (11/26/10), South Florida (11/27/10) and Oral Roberts (11/30/10).

Texas Tech drained 12 3-pointers on Monday against Northern Arizona on 22 attempts. It is the eighth top total in program history and the most since netting 12 treys against Georgia Southern on Nov. 23, 2010. Five different Red Raiders converted a 3-point attempt against NAU, while Robert Turner connected on 5 of 6 and Dusty Hannahs hit 4 of 7 attempts.

The Red Raiders had 19 assists against Northern Arizona last Monday. It is the most assists against an opponent since dishing out 19 at TCU on Dec. 6, 2011 – a span of 53 games. In all, nine different players dished out an assist on the night.

Jaye Crockett is closing in on some personal milestones and climbing the Red Raiders career charts. He eclipsed 800 career points last Monday against Northern Arizona and currently has  819 points and now needs just 181 points to become the 36th member of the 1,000-point club at Tech. He has 489 career rebounds and needs 11 to reach 500. If he reaches 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, he would become the 17th Red Raider to complete the feat. Crockett has 80 career steals and ranks 26 on the all-time list at Texas Tech. He needs seven more steals to move into 20th all-time. He also has 81 career assists. If he were to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists and 100 steals, he would be the sixth Red Raider to reach the milestone.

Jordan Tolbert has begun the 2013-14 season with a 16-point, 12 rebound performance against Houston Baptist and then added duplicate 14-point, seven-board effort against Northern Arizona and Alabama. Through three games, he is averaging 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds, while shooting 67.7 percent from the field. Tolbert also eclipsed the 700-point plateau against Alabama and now ranks fourth in career field goal percentage at 54.0 percent.

What a difference a year makes. Texas Tech is currently shooting 50.5 percent from the field. If the season ended today, that percentage would rank as the second best mark in program history, behind only the school record 51.8 percent the Red Raiders shot during the 1979-80 season. This is on the heels of a season where the Red Raiders shot 42.1 percent last season and returned nine letterwinners from that team. That percentage ranks as the 14th most futile in program annals.

Texas Tech will make a record 32 appearances on television this season, with every single game being broadcast. The Red Raiders will appear on the ESPN family of networks 10 times, the Big 12 Network 11 times, the FOX family of networks eight times, The Pac-12 Network twice and the Longhorn Network once. Last season, Texas Tech had a record 31 games broadcast. By season’s end, Texas Tech will have appeared on TV for a record 81 consecutive games, dating back to Jan. 7, 2012. The Red Raiders will also have appeared on TV in 91 of 96 games over the last three seasons.




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