Any concern for No. 13 Texas Tech with only one starter returning from last year’s team that lost in the NCAA championship game was alleviated with the performance of its newcomers, including freshman guard Jahmi’us Ramsey, in the season-opening win Tuesday over Eastern Illinois.
Ramsey scored 19 points, made three 3-pointers and also led the team with three steals as Texas Tech increased its non-conference home winning streak to 48 games with the 85-60 rout of Eastern Illinois.
Texas Tech (1-0) can build on that streak Saturday when it hosts Bethune-Cookman in Lubbock, Texas.
The Red Raiders unveiled their first Final Four banner in program history and a Big-12 regular-season championship banner before the win over the Panthers.
“I was impressed with the guy’s preparation this week,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said of Ramsey, a 6-foot-4 guard from Duncanville (Texas) High School. “They were dialed in. To have the emotion there at the start of the game, big crowd, first Division I game for a lot of guys.
“Then you put on top of that the two banners and the videos and all this, that’s hard to do. But I thought our guys, there was a calmness to us early that was really impressive.”
Freshman guard Terrence Shannon Jr. finished with 11 points and graduate transfer T.J. Holyfield contributed 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting with six rebounds. Virginia Tech graduate transfer Chris Clarke had eight of Texas Tech’s 25 assists.
Texas Tech’s freshman class scored 44 of the team’s 85 points.
“I mean pressure’s a blessing, pressure is why you play at this level, why you coach at this level, why you support a team at this level,” Beard said. “I think these freshmen understand they have an opportunity. We have our own expectations internally that are so much more than anybody could put on us. So, I just keep talking to these guys about opportunity versus pressure, and I thought they did a great job tonight embracing that.”
Bethune-Cookman is coming off a 110-68 rout of Division II Johnson (Fla.) on Wednesday in its opener.
Senior forward Cletrell Pope, the reigning MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, had 22 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and five blocks to lead the senior-laden team.
Pope, who is also the conference’s preseason player of the year, will try to help the Wildcats rebound from a 14-17 season last year.
“We’ve got six seniors that are fired up to go to work every day,” Bethune-Cookman coach Ryan Ridder said. “The hunger of not finishing the way (last year) we knew we could’ve … whether it was injuries or this or that, at the end of the day we didn’t get it done. So we have six dudes that are fired up, ready to finish their careers on the right note.”
–Field Level Media