Sophomore guard Jarrett Culver recorded 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead Texas Tech to a 72-57 victory over Northern Kentucky on Friday in West Region first-round play of the NCAA Tournament at Tulsa, Okla.
Senior forward Tariq Owens contributed 12 points and five blocked shots for the third-seeded Red Raiders (27-6). Sophomore guard Davide Moretti had 10 points and senior guard Matt Mooney added nine points, eight assists and five steals.
Texas Tech will face No. 6 seed Buffalo, which routed Arizona state later Friday, in Sunday’s second round.
Junior guard Tyler Sharpe scored 23 points for the 14th-seeded Norse (26-9). Junior forward Dantez Walton added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Northern Kentucky senior power forward Drew McDonald, the Horizon League Player of the Year, had just five points on 2-of-13 shooting.
The Norse shot 37.1 percent from the field, including 5 of 22 from 3-point range. Sharpe was 4 of 7 from long range.
Northern Kentucky was hurt by 17 turnovers while falling to 0-2 in NCAA Tournament play.
“I thought we stayed committed to defense, it was one of our better games,” Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said of the defensive performance in a postgame interview with TNT. “We guarded the 3-point line with urgency.”
Culver went 3 of 5 from 3-point range as the Red Raiders were 6 of 17 overall. Texas Tech shot 52.8 percent from the field.
The Norse were within three early in the second half before Texas Tech used a 13-3 burst to open up a 47-34 advantage with 14:15 remaining.
A short time later, Mooney knocked down a jumper to give the Red Raiders a 53-38 lead with 11:03 left.
Culver buried a straight-away 3-point to increase the advantage to 60-43 with 8:35 to play.
Texas Tech increased its lead to 70-50 on a layup by Moretti with 2:37 remaining.
Culver scored 12 first-half points as Texas Tech led 30-26 at the break.
The Red Raiders scored the first six points but Northern Kentucky recovered to take a 13-12 edge on Sharpe’s 3-pointer with 11:24 remaining.
Texas Tech rattled off eight straight points and 13 of the next 17 to open up an eight-point lead.
—Field Level Media