MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech coach Chris Beard called a timeout after his No. 11 Red Raiders, playing at a neutral site about 120 miles from their campus, had three turnovers without getting off a shot and quickly fell behind to Houston Baptist.
“Just upset with our start. I didn’t think we were being aggressive,” Beard said, after initially joking that he asked his players where they wanted to eat after the game.
“I’m OK if you start the game and have some adversity. I’m OK if you start the game and the ball doesn’t go in when you shoot,” he said. “I didn’t like our energy. I didn’t like our execution of our early game plan.”
The Red Raiders responded with 14 points in a row, going ahead to stay on the way to a 103-74 victory Wednesday night.
Freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting and graduate transfer TJ Holyfield had 21 points on 9-of-10 field goals. Kyler Edwards added 13 points with three 3-pointers while Davide Moretti scored 12 points and had six assists.
“My teammates are doing a great job of getting me the ball in scoring position,” Ramsey said. “I believe the chemistry is really high right now. ... Everybody connects on and off the floor. It’s a great start.”
Jalon Gates had 21 points with five 3-pointers to lead Houston Baptist. Ian DuBose added 20 points.
Texas Tech shot 60% overall (40 of 67) and made its first four field goals in the game, but only after the early turnovers while Houston Baptist (0-3) jumped out to a 9-0 lead in just over two minutes. After the timeout, the Red Raiders’ fourth field goal was a layup by Ramsey that tied the game 9-9 with 16:18 left, and they went ahead to stay on a 3-pointer by Edwards.
“Just reminded the guys with our truth-telling culture, ‘This is where we’re at. This is where we have to go.’ I think on the flip side to that there’s some positive, though, to respond that quickly,” Beard said. “As disappointed as we were in our start, we were positive on the fact that we showed that bounce-back.”
Ramsey had 20 of his points by halftime, when Texas Tech led 54-39.
The game was played inside Midland College’s Chaparral Center, marking Texas Tech’s first regular season game in the Permian Basin since 1951.
Texas Tech players wore “Permian Basin Strong” shirts during pregame warmups prior to tipoff to honor and remember those affected by an August 31 shooting spree.
A gunman killed seven people and injured about two dozen more while firing indiscriminately from his car into passing vehicles and shopping plazas in Odessa and Midland, the two biggest cities in the Permian Basin. The shooter, who was killed by officers, also hijacked a U.S. Postal Service mail truck, killing the driver.
“We were really pleased and proud that we put this game together,” Beard said. “To play this game in Midland for the Permian Basin fans is special.”
Chris Clarke, the other grad transfer, had four points and nine assists and seems to be filling the role as Tech’s sixth man.
“He’s a skilled player. He’s a position-less basketball player,” Beard said. “He’s just an unselfish guy. He’s a guy who’s trying to win the possession. ... There will be days sooner rather than later where he’s our leading scorer as well. He’s a guy that can play the game.”
Houston Baptist: The aggressiveness by Houston Baptist inside the paint forced the Red Raiders into foul trouble. The winless Huskies playing tough opponents early on will help them down the road in the Southland Conference.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders’ defense was put to the test against the Huskies, who made their first four shots. Quick adjustments and getting their legs underneath them on offense helped lead them to victory. The Red Raiders did score 56 points in the paint.
Houston Baptist plays the third of six consecutive games away from campus to start the season, Nov. 22 at Michigan.
Texas Tech is back home Nov. 21 against Tennessee State.