Texas Tech takes down Eastern Illinois in opener

Red Raider Nation

Photo by Jason Davis of KLBK/KAMC

LUBBOCK, Texas — For a Texas Tech team that lost four starters, production from newcomers is a must. Tuesday night, those newcomers gave Red Raider fans a taste of what they can provide.

In Texas Tech’s 85-60 win over Eastern Illinois, Freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey paced Texas Tech in points with 19 with while transfer T.J. Holyfield chipped in 15. 

Overall, the almost completely fresh roster played a solid game.

“It’s a new season,” Beard said. “I thought our guys tonight did a great job of embracing that. This team was ready to play tonight against a team that we had a lot of respect for.”

The Panthers hung around for the first part of the game until an unlikely source started a run. With Texas Tech up 24-20, Chris Beard inserted walk-on guard Avery Benson and he immediately buried a 3-pointer. Ramsey followed with five straight points, giving the Red Raiders a 12-point lead.

They built on that before halftime, going into the break up 46-31. 

Texas Tech’s additions overshadowed a quiet performance from the returning players. Kyler Edwards and Davide Moretti combined for just two points in the first half.

Not only did the newcomers produce, they all seemed to fit in well with each other. While Chris Beard started four guards, Texas Tech had no problem scoring inside. 

Some of that was due to Terrence Shannon. The freshman drove aggressively to the rim all night, getting to the free throw line eight times and throwing down a dunk.

Ramsey provided the shooting. He canned all three of his first half 3-pointers, firing over closeouts. When defenders ran him off the line, he flashed the ability to make floaters and layups.

Holyfield and Chris Clarke brought interior toughness, finishing and-ones and mixing it up with EIU’s active big man George Dixon. 

“The way we all work together, it’s easy for us to get easy baskets sometimes,” Holyfield said.

Holyfield emptied his bag of tricks in the second half, stepping back for a jumpshot and spinning past an EIU defender for a layup. 

“T.J. played very aggressive tonight,” Beard said, “I thought there was a portion of the game in the second half where he was the best player on the floor.”

Holyfield’s moves were part of a blowout second half for Texas Tech. Moretti took and made open jumpers and the rest of the team got good looks at the rim. Defensively, the Red Raiders held the Panthers to 29 points in the half.

The wide margin also gave Beard a chance to empty his bench. Eleven TTU players appeared in the game, with only the injured Tyreek Smith and currently ineligible Joel Ntambwe not appearing. 

Eastern Illinois is far from the toughest team Texas Tech will play this season, but so far the early results look good. 

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