There was nothing overly impressive about the first five games on Texas Tech's schedule this season, but the No. 12 Red Raiders handled the first four of those contests with aplomb, using a varied offensive attack and stifling defense to beat a quartet of lesser opponents.
Now comes Long Island University to face the Red Raiders on Sunday in Lubbock, Texas. The Sharks will hit the South Plains with the goal of not just being fodder for Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders struggled but outlasted Tennessee State 72-57 on Thursday at home to remain undefeated. Texas Tech (4-0) extended its nonconference home winning streak to 50 games with the victory.
Texas Tech, which entered the contest averaging 89 points per outing, had to play a spirited second half to push aside the Tigers (3-2) and still finished 17 points short of its norm.
"We found ourselves in a battle, right?" Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. "A lot of positives come from this. We would much rather learn lessons after a victory rather than a defeat. There are people that say, 'The best lessons come after losses.' I respectfully disagree. People can learn through success. I like the fact that we had a close game tonight."
The Red Raiders continue to be a defense-first team and have now limited their first four opponents to 57 points per game and to 35.7 percent shooting from the floor.
Davide Moretti scored 19 points for Texas Tech, Jahmi'us Ramsey and Terrence Shannon Jr. added 13 points, and Kyler Edwards had 10. Texas Tech went 32 of 38 from the free-throw line, while Tennessee State was just 13 of 18 from the charity stripe, a 21-point difference in a 15-point game.
LIU (1-4) heads to Lubbock on the heels of an 81-64 loss at San Diego State on Friday.
LIU is led by senior forward Raiquan Clark, who has a chance to become the school's all-time leading scorer this season. Clark, who didn't get a single Division I scholarship offer after high school and a season on prep ball, has proved all doubters wrong.
"My first look at him, I thought he could have been an (Atlantic 10) player for me at UMass," LIU coach Derek Kellogg told Newsday. "He didn't just go from a walk-on to making himself a Division I player. He has a toughness -- kind of an inner chip on his shoulder to prove people wrong.
Clark carries 1,486 points into the game at Texas Tech, scoring 20 points per game this year after being held to a season-low 10 points in the loss to San Diego State.
He has a change at eclipsing Jamal Olasewere's LIU school record of 1,871 career points and possibly hitting the 2,000-point mark.
This is the inaugural season for Long Island University as the Sharks. The university combined its two athletic departments into one unified program that competes at the NCAA Division I level as the Sharks. LIU Brooklyn had more than 1,100 wins with 10 NIT and seven NCAA Tournament appearances in its storied history.
--Field Level Media