Texas Tech stepped up its level of competition on Sunday and had a fight on its hands.
San Jose State came to Lubbock with a veteran team and gave the Red Raiders all they wanted before Texas Tech pulled away late for a 56-42 victory.
Devan Cambridge led Texas Tech (2-0) with 15 points, hitting 7 of 12 shots on a day when his team struggled from the field. Joe Toussaint scored 10 with one key stretch. Pop Isaacs balanced a tough shooting day with seven rebounds and five assists to go with eight points.
The Spartans (2-1) got 14 points from Alvaro Cardenas and got stung by Tibet Gorener going scoreless after he averaged 21.5 points in the first two games.
For 32 minutes, San Jose State stood toe-to-toe and the teams swapped the lead 19 times. At the right time, though, the Red Raiders warmed up shooting the ball to pull away.
Texas Tech finally established some breathing room in the final eight minutes with Toussaint, a transfer from West Virginia, supplying a spark on the offensive end and Isaacs keying a defensive uptick.
Toussaint knocked down the Red Raiders’ first 3-pointer with 7:33 left in the game after they missed their first 12 tries. It gave Texas Tech its first lead in 9 1/2 minutes. Cardenas answered with a 3 for the Spartans to switch the lead, but Toussaint got aggressive and drove the lane, got fouled and hit the free throw for a 41-40 advantage.
That drive sparked an 18-2 Red Raiders’ run over the final 6:56, which gained momentum when Isaacs swiped the ball from Cardenas, fed Toussaint on the fast break and he zipped a pass to Darrion Williams for a 3-pointer and 44-40 lead.
Cardenas drove for a layup to pull his team within 46-42 with 3:59 to go. But that was the last gasp for the Spartans as Texas Tech hit 5 of 7 free throws and Isaacs added the exclamation point with a 3 with 23 seconds left in the game.
The Red Raiders led 22-21 at halftime after both teams scuffled offensively for the first 20 minutes.
Texas Tech connected on only 10 of 30 field goals and missed all eight 3-point attempts. The Spartans were only slightly better — 10 of 28 and 1 of 13.
Cambridge drove for a bucket with 14 seconds left in the half to end a 4:22 drought for the Red Raiders and give them the slender halftime cushion. He and Cardenas were the only players who knocked down more than two floor shots in the first half.
–Field Level Media
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