LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)Davion Warren and the Texas Tech Red Raiders will have to wait a little longer than planned for their Big 12 opener.
They cruised in their final tuneup for conference play.
Warren scored 15 points, and No. 25 Texas Tech rolled to a 75-53 victory over Alabama State on Tuesday.
Warren put Texas Tech (10-2) ahead for good on a 3-pointer midway through the first half, and Clarence Nadolny gave the Red Raiders their first 20-point lead on a layup midway through the second half.
The Red Raiders were supposed to open Big 12 play on New Year’s Day at home against Oklahoma State, but COVID-19 issues in the Cowboys’ program postponed the game to Jan. 13. The conference opener is now Jan. 5 at No. 8 Iowa State.
”I think there will be a lot more changes,” Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. ”We can only control what we can control. That means staying focused on today and the team we’re going to play next. It’ll give us a little more opportunity to look at ourselves and try to get ready not only for Iowa State but get ready for the Big 12.”
Gerald Liddell scored 15 points and Trace Young had 14 on 4-of-9 shooting from 3 for Alabama State (1-11), which dropped to 0-9 on the road with a second consecutive loss to a ranked Big 12 team in Texas. It was the Hornets’ first meeting with Texas Tech.
Alabama State had 17 of its 23 turnovers in the first half, which ended with Texas Tech leading by 15.
”That is going to make it hard to win,” said Hornets associate head coach Trey Johnson, who filled in with coach Mo Williams awaiting the birth of a child. ”We have stuff we can clean up, a lot of them unforced, understanding the game and our limitations as individuals and as a team.”
Sardaar Calhoun hit consecutive 3-pointers – his only two shots of the game for all six of his points – to start a game-ending 12-2 run after Alabama State had cut a 20-point deficit to 12 with five minutes remaining.
Adonis Arms scored 11 points, with all four baskets coming on dunks, and Kevin McCullar had 11 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals for Texas Tech. Nadolny scored eight points.
Alabama State: The back-to-back Big 12 losses in Texas followed a pair of games called off by COVID-19, at No. 5 UCLA and Memphis. Alabama State lost to 17th-ranked Texas 68-48 last week. Add a 68-60 loss to No. 8 Iowa State in November, and Alabama State is 0-3 against Big 12 teams in the Top 25.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders entered the game fourth nationally in rebounding margin at 12.9 per game and improved to 10-0 when winning the rebounding battle. It was closer than usual, though, with Texas Tech holding a 37-30 edge.
The Red Raiders trailed almost seven minutes into the game when Adams replaced the starting lineup over two stops in the action less than 30 seconds apart. Five minutes later, Texas Tech took its first double-digit lead.
One of the replacements was 6-foot-11 forward Daniel Batcho, who finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
”Our first group was out there, they were lethargic and we didn’t think were giving the effort we needed,” Adams said. ”Put that other group in, they got us started. We always talk about the most aggressive team wins, and we weren’t at the start of the game.”
SLOPPY ALL AROUND
Texas Tech scored 22 points off Alabama State’s 23 turnovers, but the Hornets had 18 points on a season-high 18 turnovers by the Red Raiders.
Alabama State: The Southwestern Athletic Conference opener is Monday at Mississippi Valley State.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have a five-game winning streak against Iowa State and haven’t lost in Ames since Jan. 20, 2018.
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