Texas Southern (2-2) at Texas Tech (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 18, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: United Spirit Arena (15,098) -- Lubbock, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: TSU 2-0, Texas Tech 2-0. Away Record: TSU 0-2, Texas Tech 0-1. Neutral Record: TSU 0-0, Texas Tech 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 0-0, Texas Tech 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A Lone Star state matchup is on tap in Lubbock on Monday night, as the Texas Tech Red Raiders play host to the Texas Southern Tigers in opening round action of the Legends Classic.
Two familiar coaches will be on the benches for both teams, as Mike Davis is in charge at Texas Southern, while Tubby Smith is in his first season with Texas Tech.
Smith's inaugural campaign got off on the right foot with a pair of double- digit home wins, as Tech topped both Houston Baptist (76-61) and Northern Arizona (88-68) with relative ease. However, the team's first road trip provided a different result, with the Red Raiders falling at Alabama, 76-64. Tech's run in this event will continue on Thursday against South Dakota State.
Davis' Tigers have seen similar outcomes, with two home victories against Norfolk State (95-83) and Wiley College (113-96), followed by two road losses at Miami-Florida (84-69) and finally FIU (70-68).
Despite residing within the same state borders, this is the first time these two teams are meeting on the hardwood.
Texas Southern jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first half against FIU, but the Panthers used a 23-13 run to close out the half, with the score tied at 34-34. A back-and-forth battle in the second half favored the hometown team, as the Tigers dropped a two-point decision. Aaric Murray's strong outing was wasted, as he finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Jose Rodriguez just missed his own double-double off the bench, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds. Aaron Clayborn rounded out the top scorers for Texas Southern with 10 points in the loss. The Tigers outrebounded FIU, 42-36, but struggled to find their shot, connecting on just 36.4 percent from the floor, including a mere 25.0 percent from behind the arc (4-of-16).
The 68 points against FIU was a season low, as Texas Southern came into that game averaging an impressive 92.3 ppg on an equally impressive .525 shooting. The 6-foot-10 Murray has been a beast in the early going, as he was right on his season average against the Panthers, coming into the game netting 24.3 ppg.
The Red Raiders have been a highly efficient squad under Smith thus far, with the team shooting just over 50 percent from the floor, en route to a solid 76.0 ppg. Robert Turner leads three Red Raiders in double digits with his 15.7 ppg. The junior guard is knocking down 54.1 percent from the floor, including 41.7 percent from long range. Junior forward Jordan Tolbert has been strong up front, averaging 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, on a hefty 67.7 percent accuracy. Senior forward Jaye Crockett rounds out the top offensive threats for the team with 11.0 ppg.
Texas Tech shot 47.5 percent from the floor against Alabama, but was outscored at the free-throw line 14-4, while also losing the rebound battle (32-26). Turner and Tolbert tied for team-high honors with 14 points apiece. Crockett chipped in 12 in the losing effort.
Both teams are coming off losses, but in Texas Tech's case, the Red Raiders still performed well offensively. That, along with the obvious homecourt advantage, tip the scales in Tech's favor here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas Tech 81, Texas Southern 64
11/18 10:33:41 ET