Tech Travels To Tucson To Face No. 2 Arizona

Jamal Williams, Jr. (23), Robert Turner (14) and Toddrick Gotcher (20) lead the way into Arizona.

December 2, 2013

Texas Tech vs. Arizona | Texas Tech Notes | Arizona Notes | Big 12 Notes
Date/Time: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 / 8:00 p.m. CT / 7:00 p.m. MT
Location: Tucson, Ariz. (McKale Center / 14,545)
Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports
     Brian Hanni (Play-By-Play) & Chris Level (Analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius (93) / XM (190) -- Arizona Broadcast.
Television: Pac-12 Network – J.B. Long (Play-By-Play) & Matt Muehlebach (Analyst)
Channel: Suddenlink (531), AT&T U-Verse (759), Dish Network (413)
On The Web: Live in-game statistics and other coverage can be found at www.texastech.com
Live Stats: Live Stats On-Line | Live Stats Mobile Device
Rankings: Texas Tech: (RPI: 141) —/—. Arizona: (RPI: 17) 2 (AP)/2 (Coaches).
Head Coaches:   Texas Tech: Tubby Smith (Career: 517-228 in 23rd season; at Texas Tech: 6-2 in first season.)
Arizona: Sean Miller (Career: 228-90 in 10 seasons; at Arizona: 108-43 in five seasons.)
Against UTSA Texas Tech leads the all-time series, 28-22. Tubby Smith is 0-2 all-time vs. Arizona.

Texas Tech (6-2) travels to Tuscon, Ariz., to take on former conference foe Arizona (7-0) on Tuesday at the McKale Center. The Red Raiders will be looking to win their first non-conference road win outside of the state of Texas since Dec. 6, 2006, when Texas Tech defeated Louisiana Tech, 66-59, in Shreveport, La. But that could be a tought streak to break considering the Red Raiders are facing No. 2/2 Arizona at the McKale Center. Texas Tech is 0-9 against AP Top 10 teams over the last two seasons. The Red Raiders last win over a AP Top 10 was a an 84-65 win over No. 9 Kansas on March 4, 2009. Arizona on the other hand has only lost one non-conference home game over the last three seasons. That was a 61-57 setback to San Diego State on Nov. 23, 2011. In all, this is the 51st meeting between Texas Tech and Arizona, who were conference mates from 1933-56 in the now defunct Border Conference. Last season in Lubbock, No. 9 Arizona topped Texas Tech, 85-57, on Dec. 1, 2012. In fact, The Wildcats have won six straight against the Red Raiders, dating back to Dec. 22, 1973 in Tucson. Tech’s last win was Dec. 12, 1970, when the Red Raiders topped the Wildcats, 79-67.

Texas Tech is the ninth most prolific scoring team from two-point range this season. The Red Raiders offense nets 63.1 percent of its points off of two-point field goals, while adding 20.5 percent of its offense from 3-pointers and 16.4 percent of its offense from free throws. In all, Texas Tech is 189 of 340 from two-point range (55.6 percent) and provide 47.3 points per game. The 16.4 percent of offense from the free throw line is third lowest among teams from the Power Six Conferences, just ahead of LSU (16.2) and Michigan State (15.0).

Tubby Smith has led the Red Raiders to a 6-2 start in his first season at the helm of Texas Tech. He is the fourth first-year coach to lead Texas Tech to a 6-2 or better start, joining Gene Gibson (1961, 7-1), Bob Knight (2001, 7-1) and Pat Knight (2008, 7-1). Bob Knight is the only Red Raider head coach to begin his first season 8-1. At his previous stops, Smith was 2-6 in his first year at Tulsa (1991), 7-1 at Georgia (1995), 7-1 at Kentucky (1997) and 7-1 at Minnesota (2007).

Tuesday’s game marks the 51st meeting between Arizona and Texas Tech. The Red Raiders lead the series, 28-22. The Wildcats have won six straight in the series, despite the Red Raiders holdin the series advantage. Texas Tech’s last win in Tucson came on Jan. 11, 1956.

Texas Tech is 73-81 all-time against teams currently members of the Pac-12 Conference – Arizona (28-22), Arizona State (21-20), Cal (0-0), Colorado (13-18), Oregon (1-2), Oregon State (1-0), Stanford (1-3), UCLA (1-5), USC (1-1), Utah (3-3), Washington (3-6) and Washington State (0-1).

Arizona is currently 7-0 on the season and is coming off of winning the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden over the weekend. The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 4 by AP and No. 3 by the coaches. Arizona is a dynamic team that is shooting better than 51 pecent from the field and out-scoring its opponents by more than 20 points per game. The Wildcats feature three players averaging double figures — Nick Johnson (17.0 ppg), Aaron Gordon (12.1 ppg) and Brandon Ashley (11.0 ppg), while another three players add at least eight points per game — Kaleb Tarkzewski (9.9 ppg), Gabe York (9.6 ppg) and Rondae Jefferson-Hollis (8.6 ppg). Arizona also pounds the glass to the tune of 41.9 rebounds per game, lead by Gordon’s 9.3 rebounds per game. They our-rebound opponents by a margin of 13.6 boards per game.

Nick Johnson scored 18 points to lead No. 9 Arizona to an 85-57 win over Texas Tech on Saturday night at United Spirit Arena. Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons each added 14 points for Arizona. Kaleb Tarczewski pulled down 13 rebounds for the Wildcats (5-0). Texas Tech kept it close early but Arizona steadily pulled away for the easy win. The Wildcats, averaging 10 3-pointers a game coming into the contest, hit eight from beyond the arc on 22 attempts. Jaye Crockett came off the bench to lead Texas Tech (4-1) with 12 points. It was the fourth straight night he has led the Red Raiders in scoring. The Wildcats pulled down 41 rebounds to the Red Raiders 26, and got 16 second-chance points. They also got 21 points off 16 Texas Tech turnovers. The Red Raiders fell well below their per-game point average. They came in averaging 88.8 points in each of their first four wins.

Texas Tech is in uncharted territory when it comes to scoring inside.  The Red Raiders have netted 321 points in the paint through the first eight 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, 34 against South Dakota State, 26 versus Pitt, 36 against Houston and 54 against UTSA. The 54 points is the most points in the paint for a Red Raider team since Nov. 20, 2008, when Texas Tech rolled past East Central, 167-115, at United Spirit Arena. That night the Red Raiders drained 90 points in the paint. It spans 168 games between the two largest efforts for the Red Raiders. The last time Texas Tech scored at least 321 points in the paint over an eight-game span, it poured in 322 points in the paint against New Mexico (44, 12/04/96), TCU (38, 12/14/96), UTSA (48, 12/17/96), Fresno State (44, 12/21/96), New Mexico State (42, 12/27/96), Wyoming (34, 12/28/96), Baylor (36, 01/04/97), Oklahoma State (01/08/97). It has taken 530 games and 17 seasons to equal that mark.

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. Texas Tech then out-boarded Pitt, 33-32 and Houston, 46-26. The Red Raider then our rebounded UTSA, amrking the third straight game they had won the battle of the boards (39-29).For the season, Texas Tech is averaging 35.5 rebounds per game and has a rebounding margin of +5.0 through eight 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 97 assists and 90 turnovers. Texas Tech has committed fewer turnovers than its opponent in six of eight games this season. Last season, Texas Tech had fewer turnovers than its opponent only seven times all season.

Texas Tech has three players averaging 10 points or more per game through seven games and another three players each chipping in at least 5.0 points per game. Leading the way is senior Jaye Crockett, who had 19 points and six rebounds against Pitt on Monday and added 16 points and 12 rebounds on Tuesday against Houston and added 17 points and eight boards on Friday against UTSA. Crockett is averaging 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds, while shooting a league-best 67.5 percent from the field. Junior Jordan Tolbert adds 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds and is second in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 64.3 percent. Junior college transfer Robert Turner chips in 11.4 points and 2.6 assists per game. Dusty Hannahs (8.6 ppg), Toddrick Gotcher (6.3 ppg), Aaron Ross (5.0 ppg) and Dejan Kravic (4.9 ppg) are also key contributors for the Red Raiders. In all, Texas Tech is averaging 74.9 points per game, which is a full eight points better than last 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. For the season, Tubby Smith’s Red Raiders have raised the assists per game from 11.0 to 12.4, while decreasing the turnovers from 14.7 to 11.3 in just one season.

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. Last season, Texas Tech averaged 3.1 blocks per game, but has increased that number to 4.8 per game through eight games this season.

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 (11.4 ppg), assists (2.8) and steals (1.1). He has scored in double figures in  five of his first eight 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. He added another 15-point performance against Houston.

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 49.5 percent from the field. If the season ended today, that percentage would rank as the third best mark in program history. The Red Raiders rank 44th 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 began the 2013-14 season with a 16-point, 12 rebound performance against Houston Baptist and has since added a total of seven double-digit scoring efforts this season. Through eight games, he is averaging 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds, while shooting 64.3 percent from the field. Tolbert also eclipsed the 700-point plateau against Alabama and now ranks third in career field goal percentage at 54.3 percent. He is also ranked nationally in  field goal percentage (17th),  total rebounds (158th) and total  blocks (185th).

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, surpassed 900 against UTSA and currently has 902 points and now needs just 98 points to become the 36th member of the 1,000-point club at Tech. He joined the 500-rebound club against South Dakota State. He now has 529 career rebounds. If he reaches 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, he would become the 17th Red Raider to complete the feat. Crockett has 85 career steals and ranks 25th on the all-time list at Texas Tech. He needs two 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.

Toddrick Gotcher came up big for the Red Raiders against Houston on Tuesday, as the sophomore netted 16 points in 23 minutes off the bench. Gotcher came off the bench to connect on 3-for-6 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, while sinking 8 of 10 free throws. He also dished out a season-high four assists, pulled down three boards and added a block and a steal. His 16 points eclipses his previous best of 14 points he recorded at TCU on Dec. 6, 2011. For the season, Gotcher is averaging 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds.

Freshmen Randy Onwuasor, Aaron Ross and Alex Foster came off the bench to have big performances against UTSA last Friday. Onwuasor hit 6 of 7 from the field for a career-high 15 points in 16 minutes. He also had four rebounds and assist and a steal. Aaron Ross had a career-high 13 points in 15 minutes, after converting 3 of 5 from the field, including 1 of 1 beyond the arc, and 6 of 8 from the line. Ross entered Friday’s game never having scored more than six points in a contest. Alex Foster had a career best nine points as well, as he connected on 4 of 6 from the field and converted 1 of 1 from the line in 11 minutes.




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