Almost a week after upsetting then-No. 1 Louisville, No. 24 Texas Tech came out sluggish against Southern Miss on Monday and trailed with less than 10 minutes remaining before pulling out a hard-fought win.
The Red Raiders (7-3) now must motivate themselves on Saturday in the last game before players leave Lubbock, Texas, to visit family for the holidays. They must try to take care of business against visiting Texas Rio Grande Valley (4-7).
“Southern Miss played harder than us in a lot of stretches of the game, we really don’t say that about our teams much, but that’s exactly what happened,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said after the 71-65 win.
Red Raiders guard Kyler Edwards, who went 1 of 7 from 3-point range, added, “We had a game plan, but I don’t think we were ready to come out and play today. I do not think we were mentally ready.”
The Red Raiders extended their nonconference home winning streak to 52 games and are 5-0 at home this season after overcoming a seven-point halftime deficit against the Golden Eagles, who are 3-9.
Chris Clarke recorded his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and he also had six assists. Terrence Shannon Jr. added 18 points and five rebounds.
Rio Grande Valley leading scorer Jordan Jackson, a senior guard who averages 14.9 points a game, is the son of former Texas Tech great Sheryl Swoopes, a WNBA All-Star and Hall of Famer. Jackson began his career with the Red Raiders in 2015-16.
He played in only 122 minutes over 23 games with Texas Tech, scoring a total of 26 points with 17 rebounds. He transferred to Midland (Texas) College in 2016-17 before joining Rio Grande Valley. He medically redshirted in 2017-18 because of an injury that limited him to five games.
Last season, he averaged 8.6 points a game.
“At this stage of his career it should be fun pressure,” coach Lew Hill said of Swoopes being Jackson’s mother. “He should be living his own dream, not his parents’. Jordan should be trying to find himself and his identity.”
Texas Tech holds a 6-0 series lead against the Vaqueros after earning a 71-46 win last season and is 47-22 against current Western Athletic Conference opponents.
Rio Grande Valley is coming off a 92-82 loss at Omaha as part of the Summit League/WAC Challenge on Sunday.
Senior Lesley Varner II led the Vaqueros with 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 10-of-10 from the free throw line. Javon Levi scored a career-high 21 points with seven rebounds and eight assists.
The Red Raiders have played the past four games without leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey, who is out with a left hamstring injury and is questionable to return Saturday. Ramsey leads the Red Raiders with 17.3 points per game and is adding 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 assists to begin his freshman season.
Texas Tech, which reached the national title game last season, is playing six freshmen and eight underclassmen this season. Beard is 83-34 in his fourth season.
–Field Level Media