Red Raiders Face Panthers In Legends Classic Semifinals

Jamal Williams, Jr. is playing in front of friends and family in his hometown of Brooklyn this week.

November 24, 2013

Texas Tech vs. Pittsburgh | Texas Tech Notes | Pittsburgh Notes | Progressive Legends Classic Notes
Date/Time: Monday, November 25, 2013 / 6:30 p.m. CT
Location: Brooklyn, N.Y. (Barclays Center / 18,103)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports
     Brian Hanni (Play-By-Play) & Chris Level (Analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius (91) & XM (91) - Pittsburgh
Television: ESPN2 - Ryan Ruocco (Play-by-Play), Doris Burke (Analyst)
Channel: Suddenlink (230), AT&T U-Verse (606), Direct TV (209), Dish Network (144)
On The Web: Live in-game statistics and other coverage can be found at www.texastech.com
Live Stats: http://www.texastech.com/
Rankings: Texas Tech: (RPI: 256) --/--. Pittsburgh: (RPI: 144) RV/RV.
Head Coaches: Texas Tech: Tubby Smith (Career: 515-227 in 23rd season; at Texas Tech: 4-1 in first season.)
Pittsburgh: Jamie Dixon (Career: 266-86 in 11 seasons; at Pittsburgh: Same.)
Against Pitt: Pittsburgh leads the all-time series, 1-0. Tubby Smith is 1-1 all-time vs. Pittsburgh.

The Last Meeting
Texas Tech67
November 28, 2008
Newark, New Jersey
Pittsburgh Tops Texas Tech, 80-67
Sam Young scored 24 points and DeJuan Blair added 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 4 Pittsburgh to an easy 80-67 victory over Texas Tech in the semifinals of the Legends Classic on Friday night.

Texas Tech continues play in the Championship Rounds 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 topped South Dakota State, 68-54, and Texas Southern, 80-71, in the Lubbock Regional rounds. The Red Raiders now advance to face Pittsburgh (4-0) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. CT in the semifinals, before facing either Houston (4-0) or Stanford (3-1) 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.

Jamal Williams, Jr. COMES HOME
Texas Tech senior guard Jamal Williams, Jr. is coming home to play in front of friends and family for the first time since high school. The 6-4 senior began his collegiate career at Lake Land College in Matoon, Ill., before signing with Texas Tech in the spring of 2012. Williams has started 26 career games for the Red Raiders and appeared in 34 over the past two seasons. Lubbock is 948 miles from Brooklyn, N.Y. The Barclays Center, which is the host arena for the Progressive Legends Classic, is just seven blocks from Pacific High School where Williams played high school basketball. He is expected to have more than 100 friends and family in attendance at the game on Monday night. For the season, Williams is averaging 3.8 points per game while serving as the team's Sixth Man.

Texas Tech is the ninth most prolific scoring team from two-point range this season. The Red Raiders offense nets 64.9 percent of its points off of two-point field goals, while adding 22.3 percent of its offense from 3-pointers and 12.8 percent of its offense from free throws. In all, Texas Tech is 122 of 218 from two-point range (56.0 percent) and provide 48.8 points per game. The 12.8 percent of offense from the free throw line is lowest among teams from the Power Six Conferences and ranks 342nd out of 351 teams.

Monday marks the second-ever meeting between Texas Tech and Pittsburgh. The Red Raiders and Panthers previously met once, in Newark, N.J., in the Legends Classic.

Texas Tech is 7-20 all-time against teams currently members of the Atlantic Coast Conference - Boston College (1-2), Clemson (0-4), Duke (0-0), Florida State (0-0), Georgia Tech (3-3), Maryland (0-1), Miami (0-1), North Carolina (1-3), NC State (1-0), Notre Dame (0-1), Pittsburgh (0-1), Syracuse (1-1), Virginia (0-0), Virginia Tech (0-1) and Wake Forest (0-2).

Pittsburgh is currently 4-0 on the season after securing wins over Savannah State (88-55), Fresno State (75-54), Howard (84-52) and Lehigh (77-58), but the Panthers have yet to venture away from Peterson Events Center. Pitt is led by senior power forward Talib Zanna, who is averaging 15.3 points and 9.0 rebounds, while shooting an amazing 78.3 percent from the field. He is joined in double figures by swingman Lamar Patterson (13.8 ppg / 5.0 rpg / 5.5 apg) and Sixth Man Durand Johnson 10.3 ppg / 4.5 rpg). The Panthers are out-scoring their opponents by 26.3 points per game, but Pitt has only faced one team with a winning record (Fresno State). The Panthers are currently receiving votes in both polls and have an RPI of 144. The Panthers are ranked No. 10 on the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings, while Texas Tech is No. 123.

Though Tubby Smith is 1-1 all-time against Pittsburgh, he has never faced Jamie Dixon. While the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs in 1995, Smith won an 85-66 decision in Pittsburgh. In 1998, as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, Smith lost to the Panthers in the San Juan Shootout.

Texas Tech is in uncharted territory when it comes to scoring inside.  The Red Raiders have netted 209 points in the paint through the first five games, after pouring in 50 in the season opener on Nov. 8, then picking up another 43 against Northern Arizona, 40 at Alabama, 42 versus Texas Southern and 34 against South Dakota State. 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 209 points in the paint over a five-game span, it poured in 220 points in the paint against Davidson (44, 11/18/03), Massachusetts (60, 11/21/03), East Tennessee State (42, 11/23/03), versus Utah (42, 11/26/03) and versus Georgia Tech (36, 11/27/03), which is 326 games between points in the paint efforts.

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, Texas Southern edged Tech on the boards, 37-34, and South Dakota State snipped the Red Raiders 33-32. For the season, Texas Tech is averaging 33.4 rebounds per game and have a rebounding margin of +1.8 through five games this season.

Texas Tech has only had a positive assist to turnover ratio 12 times over the last 62 games heading into the season opener 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 Nov. 11 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 59 assists and 50 turnovers. Despite having a negative assist to turnover ratio against Alabama, Texas Tech has now had fewer turnovers than its opponent in all five games. The last time Texas Tech had fewer turnovers than its opponent for five consecutive games, was during the 2009-10 season.

Texas Tech has four players averaging 10 points or more per game through five games and another two players each chipping in at least 4.0 points per game. Leading the way is junior  forward Jordan Tolbert, who has been a mainstay in the starting rotation now for three seasons. Tolbert averages 14.8 points and 8.0 rebounds, while hitting 67 percent of his shots from the field. Senior swingman Jaye Crockett adds 12.8 points and 6.4 rebounds, while junior college transfer Robert Turner chips in 12.8 points per game,  and guard Dusty Hannahs adds 11.4 points.  Dejan Kravic (5.6 ppg) and Toddrick Gotcher (4.8 ppg) are also key contributors for the Red Raiders. In all, Texas Tech is averaging 75.2 points per game, which is a full nine points per game higher than last season's squad.

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 key contributor in scoring (13.8 ppg), assists (2.6) and steals (1.6). He has scored in double figures in  four of his first five 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 and added another 15 points, three boards, two assists and two steals against Texas Southern.

Texas Tech committed just five turnovers against Texas Southern. It is the fewest turnovers in a game since Feb. 3, 2004, when the Red Raiders also committed just five turnovers in a game. That is a span of over nine and a half years between five-turnover games. It is also a span of 278 games. Current Red Raiders Randy Onwuasor and Alex Foster were in the second grade  the last time Texas Tech committed five turnovers in a game.

The Red Raiders tied the school record with 12 blocks in the game. It equaled the mark set on Dec. 22, 1998, versus Pepperdine at the Pearl Harbor Shootout in Laie, Hawai'i. Kader Tapsoba led the way with four blocks, while Dejan Kravic and Jordan Tolbert each had two and Robert Turner, Jaye Crockett, Randy Onwuasor and Aaron Ross each had one.

Texas Tech drained 12 3-pointers on Nov. 11 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.

What a difference a year makes. Texas Tech is currently shooting 51.2 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. The Red Raiders rank 34th nationally in field goal percentage. 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.

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. On Nov. 11, he added 11 points, five boards, two blocks and an assist against Northern Arizona. He followed that up with a 19-point, nine-rebound performance against South Dakota State. Through five games, he is averaging a team-best 15.8 points and 8.0 rebounds, while shooting 67 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.

Jaye Crockett is closing in on some personal milestones and climbing the Red Raiders career charts. He eclipsed 800 career points on Nov. 11 against Northern Arizona and currently has 850 points and now needs just 150 points to become the 36th member of the 1,000-point club at Tech. He joined the 500-rebound club on Thursday after pulling down seven boards against South Dakota State. He now has 503 career rebounds. If he reaches 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, he would become the 17th Red Raider to complete the feat. Crockett has 83 career steals and ranks 25th on the all-time list at Texas Tech. He needs four more steals to move into 20th all-time. He also has 82 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.

Dusty Hannahs came off the bench against Texas Southern and connected on 5 of 8 shots from the field and 3 of 6 from behind the arc, while adding a perfect 6 for 6 from the line to finish with 19 points. It was a season high for the Texas Tech sophomore and it is the most points for Hannahs since he netted 21 against North Carolina A&T on Dec. 28, 2012. Hannahs tied career highs for field goals (5), free throws made (6) and attempted (6). The very next game against South Dakota State, Hannahs picks up another 12 points, two boards, two steals and an assist. But more impressively, the sophomore connected on 9 of 9 from the free throw line. He is the first Red Raider to connect on 9 of 9 from the free throw line since Nick Okorie did it at Colorado on March 6, 2010. Hannahs has also converted 15 consecutive free throws over the past two games, which is the longest streak by a Red Raider since Ty Nurse converted 27 straight during the 2011-12 season.

The Red Raiders had 19 assists against Northern Arizona on Nov. 11. 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.

Jim Reed is truly a Red Raider Legend. When he left Texas Tech in 1956, he held almost every major scoring and rebounding record, including career points (1,697) and career rebounds (1,330). He earned third team Helms All-America honors as a junior and first team All-America honors as a senior. Reed was a three-time First Team All-Border Conference selection and three-time Border Conference Most Valuable Player. He led Texas Tech two three straight Border Conference titles and two trips to the NCAA Tournament. A four-year starter, Reed still ranks 10th all-time at Texas Tech in scoring and first in rebounding. At just 6-foot-4, Reed was an amazing rebounder for his size. He holds seven of the Top 10 single-game rebounding performances in Red Raider history, including two games where he pulled down 27 boards against Eastern New Mexico and Texas as a senior in 1956. He also scored 30-or-more points six times, including a then school record 41 against Furman in 1954. He led the Border Conference in scoring as both a junior (22.3 ppg) and senior (20.9 ppg). His 18 field goals against Furman in 1954 still stands as the single-game school record, while his 16 field goals against West Texas in 1956 ranks third. He was inducted into the Texas Tech Athletic Hall of Honor in 1967 and was named one of the greatest Texas Tech Student-Athletes of the 20th Century.

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.

Texas Tech men's basketball head coach Tubby Smith has announced the signing of two new players in the early period, as Justin Gray and Zach Smith have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Red Raiders. "We are excited about the signing of these young men to the Texas Tech Red Raider Basketball family," said Smith. "Justin and Zach are talented basketball players and gifted students."
Gray, a 6-5 senior guard at Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep, averaged 15 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.1 blocks, while leading the Berkeley Prep Buccaneers to a 22-8 record and the Class 4A regional final as a junior. "We first saw Justin at an AAU tournament playing with the Florida Select team," said Smith. "We were there watching another player on that team, but Justin stood out. Justin is a young man who understands how to play the game. Coach (Bobby) Reinhart and his staff have done a great job coaching him. "Justin has a high basketball IQ. He is 6-5 but I can see him getting taller. He has excellent shooting range and is a good ball handler. He is a versatile player who fits our style of play." Gray, a three-star recruit who is rated the 20th best player in the state of Florida, chose Texas Tech over Harvard, Stanford, South Florida, VCU, Butler and Florida Gulf Coast.

Smith, a 6-8 senior forward at Plano (Texas) East Senior High School, earned honorable mention All-District 10-5A honors. On Tuesday, in the season opener for Plano East, Smith had 12 points and 13 rebounds. "Zach is a 6-8 forward from Plano East and we are glad to have another Texas player. Texas is our home base in recruiting," said Smith. "His brother, Xavier, plays at St. Bonaventure and his parents, Linda and Reggie, were both college athletes, so they understand college sports. "Zach can play multiple positions. He received excellent coaching from coach Jeff Clarkson and his staff. He can blocks shots and defends well, both on the perimeter and in the paint. Our style of play suits him well. Zach adds a lot of depth to our team. His athleticism, combined with his all-around versatility -skilled passing, shooting and ball handling -  is impressive." Smith, a Rivals.com three-star recruit who is rated the 25th best player in the state of Texas, chose Texas Tech over Marquette, Nebraska, Kansas State, TCU, UTEP and Washington State.




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