LUBBOCK, Texas — After struggling with his shot so far this season, Kyler Edwards broke out in a big way Sunday, nailing three straight 3-pointers to lead Texas Tech to a 73-58 victory over Cal State Bakersfield.
Sunday’s game mirrored each of the last two that Texas Tech has played. The Red Raiders let an inferior team hang around in the first half before putting the game away in the second.
Jahmi’us Ramsey got off to an excellent start for Texas Tech, scoring 11 of the team’s first 15 points. He finished the night with 20 points, tying Edwards for the team lead, and made all four of his 3-point attempts.
The game was Ramsey’s second since returning from a hamstring injury, and his microwave offense is necessary for Texas Tech team that is prone to scoring droughts without him on the floor.
But Ramsey’s scoring that wasn’t enough for Texas Tech to take a significant first half lead, as Bakersfield kept the game close and went into halftime trailing by just four points.
In the second half, Texas Tech went up by 11 points early on Edwards’ outburst, but Bakersfield did not quit. The Roadrunners mounted a 10-2 run after Edwards’ shots to cut their deficit to three.
Chris Beard praised the Roadrunners’ rebounding on Friday, and Sunday they showed that they were deserving of his compliments. Bakersfield hurt Texas Tech on the boards at times, keeping their possessions alive and ending several of Texas Tech’s after one shot.
The downside to Bakersfield crashing the offensive glass is that it leaves fewer transition defenders, and Texas Tech took advantage of that in the second half as T.J. Holyfield and Ramsey leaked out for breakaway dunks.
Those points followed a Ramsey 3-pointer and put Texas Tech up by 15, a lead it would not come close to surrendering the rest of the way.
Defensively, Texas Tech used its superior athleticism to take away points at the rim, challenging layups and flying in from the weak side for blocks.
Chris Clarke’s all-around game was key in the second half run, as he helped the Red Raiders pull away in typical Chris Clarke fashion. The Virginia Tech transfer finished with seven rebounds and nine assists, and looked for hit ahead passes after grabbing a defensive rebound.
In second halves, Texas Tech looks like the type of sweet-shooting, athletic team that can contend for the Big 12 title. In first halves, it looks like a team that will finish near the conference’s cellar.
Starting Saturday, it will get the chance to show which of those teams it will play like against Big 12 competition. The Red Raiders will welcome Oklahoma State to Lubbock for an 11 a.m. tip.