Texas Tech Slices the Michigan Wolverines to Clinch Elite 8
When Chris Beard was hired the Texas Tech Red Raiders were coming off of a first-round loss in the NCAA Tournament. In his first season, the team looked close to success but couldn't figure out how to close a game out in the Big 12.
Since then, Texas Tech has a Big 12 championship and two straight trips to the Elite 8. This isn't just new territory for the Chris Beard Era, this is new territory for the Texas Tech program. Last season Texas Tech beat an injured, outmatched Big 10 team to punch the ticket to the Elite 8. This season the Red Raiders beat a healthy, outmatched Big 10 team.
The Red Raiders were dominant wire to wire on defense only allowing 16 first-half points to the Michigan Wolverines. That's a record low. 16 points. Michigan averages 70 points a game which is 35 points per half. 16 is less than half of that number. Remarkable. The Texas Tech defense would keep up the pressure in the second half and Missagain couldn't buy a bucket. They shot a paltry 32% from the field and were 1-19 from beyond the arc. The one make came from a walk-on with less than a minute left in the game.
Defensively everybody shined. Deshawn Corprew was a mad dog for a long stretch in the first half. Tariq Owens had 10 boards and two blocks. Michigan's bench was held to the three points from the walk-on and only four starters scored.
Offensively for Texas Tech, it was Jarrett Culver willing his team to the promised land until the shots started falling. Most of the time when you only score 24 points in the first half, you head into halftime down and worried about making a comeback. Tonight the Red Raiders scored 24 and took an 8 point lead into the half. Culver strapped the team on his back for stretches in between Moretti threes and Tariq Owens slams like this one.
Culver would finish with 22 points which consisted of points in the paint and free throws. Culver, who was 4-11 in the first half, finished the game 9-19 and added four boards and three steals for good measure. Davide Moretti added 15 and Matt Mooney finished with 10.
After the game, Chris Beard said the plan was to head back to the hotel and do a walkthrough for the Elite game on Saturday. Beard, who just played the late game against a tough Michigan squad, is already moved on and locked in on the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
The Red Raiders lost in the round of eight last year to eventual champion Villanova. Will this time be different?