LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith was upset after Saturday night's game against Missouri State.
"I thought it was one of our worst defensive efforts," he said. "We just lost people, didn't get out and contest shots like we should. We let them pass the ball up the court wherever they wanted."
Just imagine what his reaction would've been had the Red Raiders not earned an 80-68 home win against Missouri State.
They won behind a strong second-half and overall dominance down low. The Red Raiders outscored Missouri State 28-10 in the paint and outrebounded the Bears 40-22.
"I felt the big difference in the game was clearly the rebounding," Bears coach Paul Lusk said. "But most importantly their ability to finish at the rim and finish at the paint and our absolute lack of ability to finish at the rim when we got the ball there multiple times. That's deflating."
The Bears (2-1) evened the score at 44 with 17:54 left in the second half on an Austin Ruder 3-pointer, but the Red Raiders scored seven consecutive points over the next 2:32 for a 51-44 lead.
The Bears pulled to within four points twice but couldn't come closer.
The Red Raiders (2-1) outrebounded Missouri State 28-9 in the second half, which helped turn a 42-38 halftime lead into the 12-point final margin. Texas Tech had their biggest lead at 80-61 with 2:03 remaining in the second half.
They survived an excellent game by Bears junior Marcus Marshall, who finished with 27 points. He scored his team's first 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting and didn't miss a bucket in the first nine minutes.
"Marcus can't do it by himself," Lusk said. "I felt for most of the game we were right in position. We just wilted right there in the end."
Devaugntah Williams, who's been battling a toe injury, scored a career-high 18 points for the Red Raiders. Norense Odiase added 14 points and seven rebounds to give him double-digit points in all three Texas Tech games this season. Robert Turner added 12 points.
Although Odiase and Zach Smith led the Red Raiders with just seven rebounds apiece, 11 Red Raiders earned a rebound. Ruder added 19 points for the Bears.
Missouri State: Marcus Marshall appears to be fully recovered from the right knee surgery that ended his sophomore season. The guard entered Saturday tied for sixth nationally with 25.5 points per game and scored 27 points Saturday.
Texas Tech: The bench continues to be a strong point for the Red Raiders. The unit scored 38 points Saturday to the starters' 42. The bench outscored the starters 38-33 in the Red Raiders' season-opener against Loyola (Md.) and was outscored 47-17 in the Red Raiders' second game this season, which was a 69-64 loss to LSU.
Missouri State evened the score at 44 with 17:54 remaining in the second half, but three Red Raiders came up big over the next 2:32. Odiase made a layup, Smith two free throws and Turner a layup and a free throw for a 51-44 lead the Red Raiders held from there.
Missouri State plays Colorado State on Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska.
Texas Tech hosts Northwestern State on Tuesday.