LAS VEGAS — After sailing through its first five games smoothly, Texas Tech met some rough waters on Thursday.
The Red Raiders suffered their first loss of the season, falling to 5-1 with a 72-61 loss to Iowa.
After getting down by 15 points early, Texas Tech continually chipped away. It cut the lead to two before Iowa’s Luka Garza converted a 3-point play with just more than five minutes left. Several minutes later, a Garza layup and Jordan Bohannon 3 extended the Iowa lead to eight points.
Seven quick points from Terrence Shannon got the lead back to two, but Iowa’ C.J. Fredrick hit a dagger 3 to put the Hawkeyes ahead for good.
Texas Tech could never get going on offense. Jahmi’us Ramsey struggled in his first taste of Power Five competition and left the game early with an injury. Iowa limited the open looks Moretti got and Kyler Edwards’ icy start to the season continued. The Red Raiders made just one first half 3-pointer, and finished the evening 4-24 from 3.
Even worse, Texas Tech missed too many open shots at the rim. Russell Tchewa blew a dunk, and Chris Clarke and T.J. Holyfield couldn’t convert bunnies.
On the other side of the ball, the Hawkeyes posed a tough matchup for Texas Tech. Iowa’s offense involves surrounding its big man Garza with shooters and Texas Tech’s smaller starting lineup had trouble containing Garza. When the Red Raiders brought a double team, shooters came open, and made their shots.
The Hawkeyes made 11 3s, and at times it seemed everything they threw up would go in. Connor McCaffrey even banked in a key 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock in the second half.
Beard made a notable substitution coming out of halftime, starting the second half with Clarke over Shannon. Clarke doesn’t have Shannon’s athleticism, but has big game experience and is the team’s best passer.
In the first few games of the season, Clarke looked to get his teammates involved rather than find his own shot. With the Red Raider offense struggling, that changed.
The Virginia Tech transfer had an impressive double clutch layup and even launched a couple of mid-range jumpers. After taking just 13 shots in Texas Tech’s first five games, he took nine Thursday. He finished with a team high 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Texas Tech’s loss means it is eliminated from the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational early. Friday, the Red Raiders will play the loser of Creighton and San Diego State.