LUBBOCK, Texas – This party is just getting started.
The No. 13-ranked Texas Tech men's basketball team returns to action at 7 p.m. on Saturday against Bethune-Cookman University at the United Supermarkets Arena following a strong season-opening performance earlier in the week. The Red Raiders (1-0) are on a 48-game home non-conference winning streak after earning an 85-60 win over Eastern Illinois on Tuesday, while the Wildcats (1-0) began their season with a 110-68 win over Johnson University on Thursday.
The Red Raiders have started three straight seasons with a 2-0 record, including beginning last season with a 10-0 run, going 6-0 in 2017-18 and 3-0 in 2016-17. Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard improved to 77-31 leading the Red Raiders with the win over EIU and owns a 51-5 record at home.
"I thought we showed some positives and were poised early," said Beard of the season-opening win. "It was an emotional start to the game but we played consistent throughout the game. We're not near the 40 minutes that we need to get through, but there wasn't a letdown. There were mistakes and bad stretches, but there wasn't one letdown when effort got away from us. Our guys played hard with great balance. Every guy on our roster contributed in some way."
RANKINGS: The Red Raiders came into the season with the program's best preseason ranking at No. 12 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll and No. 13 in the Associated Press Top-25. Tech was unranked coming into last season and finished the year at No. 2 in the Coaches Poll and at No. 7 in the AP Poll. The Red Raiders were picked third of 10 in the Big 12 Preseason Poll after being picked seventh the past two seasons.
FOLLOW THE RED RAIDERS: Saturday's game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports Southwest Plus with Chuck Heinz and Chris Level on the call and on the Texas Tech Sports Network's flagship station Double T 97.3 in Lubbock with Geoff Haxton. Fans can also find the game on any streaming device by using the FOX Sports Go app and can follow the game at @TexasTechMBB.
SELL-OUT WITH ME: Texas Tech fans filled the USA on Tuesday for the 20th sell-out in program history and the third in non-conference play. The Red Raiders had four sell-outs last season where the program averaged 12,098 which was the second most ever behind only a 13,743 count in the 2001-02 season. Prior sell-outs in non-conference play came against New Mexico (2007) and UNLV (2006)
PLAYER NOTES: The Red Raiders had 10 players score in the season opener, including four in double-figures. Jahmi'us Ramsey led Tech with 19 points in the season opener, while TJ Holyfield went for 15 points, Davide Moretti added 13 and Terrence Shannon, Jr. finished the game with 11 points. A freshman from Arlington, Ramsey was 8-for-16 from the field and made three 3-pointers in his college debut. He also added five rebounds and had three assists. Moretti would also knock down three 3-pointers and now has 102 in his career. A junior from Italy, Moretti was 4-for-6 from the field and also went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. For his career, Moretti is now 123-for-135 at the free-throw line in 76 career games played. He has now scored 579 points and is a 41.6 career shooter on 3-pointers after going 3-for-4 in the opener (102-for-245 career). At home, Moretti has been a part of teams that own a 35-2 record.
A graduate transfer from SFA, Holyfield shot 7-for-8 from the field for his 15 points and also secured six rebounds. He added two blocked shots and three assists in his first game after sitting out last season in Nacogdoches and then transferring. Holyfield averaged 12.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots in his junior season at SFA. Fellow grad transfer Chris Clarke led the Red Raiders with eight assists in his debut with the team. Clarke also had three rebounds in the game and now has 218 career assists when you compile his statistics from his previous 79 games played at Virginia Tech. Clarke was 1-for-3 shooting and finished the game with two points.
Shannon started the game and was 7-for-8 at the free-throw line in his 11-point performance. A freshman from Chicago, Shannon also had three rebounds in his debut. Kyler Edwards made the first start of his career at EIU after appearing as a reserve in all 38 games last season. A sophomore from Arlington, Edwards scored six points and matched Holyfield with six rebounds for the team lead in the opener. Edwards, who scored 12 points against Virginia in the NCAA Final, was 2-for-6 from the field in his first game of the season and also had three assists.
Off the bench, Clarence Nadolny and Russel Tchewa each had six points in their debuts and Avery Benson drilled a 3-pointer on his lone shot attempt. Tchewa, a 7-foot freshman from Cameroon, was 3-for-4 from the field and also secured three rebounds. Nadolny and Kevin McCullar each knocked down two shots with McCullar finishing with four points, two rebounds and two steals in his first game as a Red Raider after redshirting last season.
In total, Texas Tech got 46 of its 85 points from the freshman class in the season opener them going 17-for-31 from the field. Tech finished the game with seven steals, led by Ramsey with three and had five blocks with Holyfield and Edwards each having two. Last season, Jarrett Culver led the team with 16 points in the 87-37 season-opening win over Incarnate Word. Moretti added nine points after he had scored 10 points against South Alabama in the first game of his career to open the 2017-18 season. Texas Tech returns three players from last year's run in Moretti, Edwards and Benson, two players in Savrasov and McCullar who redshirted last season and eight newcomers.
Moretti/Clarke Named to Preseason Watch Lists: Moretti has been named to the 2020 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Watch List following a season where he helped lead the Red Raiders to the NCAA National Championship Final and the Big 12 regular season championship. Moretti averaged 11.5 points per game, had 91 assists and shot 53.5 from the field, 53.5 percent on 3-pointers and 93.1 percent at the free-throw line during conference play as a sophomore. A Bologna, Italy native, Moretti earned All-Big 12 Third Team honors and led the nation by finishing the season at 92.4 percent at the line (97-of-105).
Clarke was announced as one of 20 players on the watch list for the 2020 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. Clarke transferred to Texas Tech this season after averaging 9.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.03 steals in 79 games played at Virginia Tech. With the Hokies, Clarke would average 8.2 points and 6.3 rebounds as a junior after going for 11.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his sophomore season. For his career, he has scored 728 points, secured 517 rebounds and has 210 assists in his collegiate career.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced its watch list with 20 candidates for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. Named after Class of 1971 Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic and Holy Cross guard Bob Cousy, the annual honor now in its seventeenth year recognizes the top point guards in Division I men's college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates. Named after Class of 1993 Hall of Famer and 16-year professional basketball player Julius Erving, the annual honor in its sixth year recognizes the top small forwards in Division I men's college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.
SPANNING THE GLOBE: The Red Raiders are represented by five international players: Moretti (Italy), Nadolny (France), Ntambwe (Congo), Savrasov (Russia) and Tchewa (Cameroon). The program his two players from Arlington, Texas in Kyler Edwards and Jahmi'us Ramsey, Kevin McCullar is from San Antonio and four from out of state: Avery Benson (Arkansas), TJ Holyfield (New Mexico), Tyreek Smith (Louisiana) and Terrence Shannon (Illinois).
COACHING STAFF: The Red Raiders are led by head coach Chris Beard who is in his fourth season. Beard was named the Associated Press National Coach of the Year last season along with earning Big 12 Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season. Beard has led the Red Raiders to a 77-31 record coming into Saturday's game against Bethune-Cookman, including a 51-5 record at home. Beard is joined on the coaching bench by assistant coaches Mark Adams, Brian Burg and Ulric Maligi, Tim MacAllister (Chief of Staff), Bob Donewald (Player Development), Sean Sutton (Executive Advisor), John Reilly (Strength & Conditioning), Mike Neal (Athletic Trainer) and graduate assistants Casey Perrin, Ronald Ross, Matt Temple, Elliott De Wit, Khristian Smith, Joey Kuhl, Rusty Grafel and Mike Fallone. Adams was named the TABC Assistant Coach of the Year last season for his role in helping Beard and the Red Raiders reach the national championship final. Burg was listed by The Athletic as one of the top rising assistants in the game as he enters his fourth season at Tech and fifth with Beard after also being at Little Rock with Beard and Adams. Maligi is in his first season at Texas Tech after working at Texas A&M last year. Neal is also new to the program, joining the Red Raiders after working at Little Rock where he was also a player before going into athletic training. Adams and Burg were previously on Beard's staff at Little Rock along with athletic trainer Mike Neal who is in his first season at Tech. MacAllister was named to the NABC 30 Under 30 list after last year and enters his second season with the Red Raiders. Along with being 23 wins away from 100 at Tech, Beard is 173-61 as a collegiate head coach after prior leadership at Little Rock, Angelo State and McMurry.
OPPONENT 2: Bethune-Cookman travels to Lubbock following a 110-68 season-opening win over Johnson University on Thursday in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Wildcats went 14-17 overall last season with a 9-7 record in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play. In their season opener, BCU came out strong led by Isaiah Bailey and Joe French who scored 24 points each in the win. Bailey added seven rebounds and six assists, while Cletrell Pope grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 22 points for a double-double. Houston Smith gave the Wildcats two double-double performers after he had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Wildcats finished the game with 64 rebounds and shot 50.6 percent from the field. The team was 9-for-23 at the free-throw line and had 11 blocked shots. Bethune-Cookman is led by head coach Ryan Ridder who is in his third season and assisted by former Tech graduate assistant Denver Cobb.
DEPARTURES: Texas Tech will look to replace the winningest team in program history that is now without Jarrett Culver, Matt Mooney, Tariq Owens, Brandone Francis and Norense Odiase. Culver declared for the NBA Draft after his sophomore season and was selected No. 6 overall. After leading the Red Raiders with 18.5 points per and 6.4 rebounds per game and earning Big 12 Player of the Year and Consensus All-America honors, Culver is now on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mooney was the team's third leading scorer behind Culver and Moretti and is now with the Memphis Hustle in the G-League, while Owens established a new program single-season record with 92 blocked shots and is with Odiase on the Northern Arizona Suns (G-League). Francis was a member of the 2018 Elite Eight run and 2019 runner-up team and is on the Iowa Wolves roster. Along with players from last year's team, Max Lefevre is now with the Timberwolves working in video and athletic trainer Chris Williams joined the Timberwolves and Iowa Wolves athletic training staff.
PROMOTIONS: Thanksgiving Food Drive benefiting the South Plains Food Bank. All fans who donate a non-perishable item to the collection bins at the ticket window can purchase an Upper Bowl ticket for only $10. Texas Tech encourages all fans to participate as well with collection bins set up around the arena at all entrances… The first 2,000 students at the game will receive a free Raider Riot t-shirt. This will be Game 2 of the Kentucky Guarantee, where Texas Tech students who attend the 4 November games and the Iowa State game will be guaranteed a seat at the Kentucky game. Students who attend the volleyball match on Saturday prior to the basketball game will receive a wristband that will give them first access to our game.
WE WROTE A BOOK: The story of the 2018-19 season has been chronicled in a commemorative book titled Raider Power: Texas Tech's Journey From Unranked to the Final Four. The Texas Tech Athletic Communications Office produced book is filled with images from our photographers and stories from throughout the season. The book will be published on Nov. 15 and is available now through preorders. It is published by the TTU Press.
UP NEXT: Texas Tech will travel to Midland to play Houston Baptist in a neutral court game at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at the Chaparral Center. The Red Raiders are 6-0 all-time against HBU, including Beard's first-ever win as a head coach at Tech with a 93-67 victory on Nov. 11, 2016 at the USA.