TULSA, OK -- Defense has been the Texas Tech forte this year, and the Red Raiders flexed their strength on the big stage Sunday as they posted a 78-58 win over Buffalo in NCAA second-round action at the Bank of Oklahoma Center.
The sixth-seeded Bulls were . . .
Texas Tech, meanwhile, hit 48.2 percent (27- of-56) on the night, knocking down 5-of-16 (31.3%) threes and 19-of-25 (26%) at the foul line.
All five Red Raider starters reached double figures, with two posting double-doubles. Sophomore guard Jarret Culver led the winners with 16 points and 10 boards. Senior center Norense Odiase hit all four shots from the field and 6-of-7 charity tosses, finishing with 14 points and 15 caroms.
Senior forward Nick Perkins led Buffalo with 17 points and 10 rebounds. C.J. Massinburg, hounded by the Texas Tech defense, totaled 14 points, while Davonta Jordan added 13.
The Red Raiders jumped out to an early 10-2 lead and were in front 20-10 midway through the first period. Buffalo, however, chipped away and took a brief lead at 25-24 lead following a Jordan trey at 3:26. However, the lead would be short-lived as the Red Raiders closed the half on a 9-0 scoring run to take a 33-25 lead at the break.While he Bulls struggled to get anything going offensively early in the second half, Texas Tech opened the second stanza on an 18-3 scoring to build their lead to 28 points and never looked back.
Buffalo finished a record setting year with a 32-4 record. Texas Tech, prevailing for the 11th time in its last 12 outings, advances to meet No. 2 seed Michigan Thursday.
"You know, I told our guys in the locker room don't let one loss take away what you've done this year," Oats said. "You put Buffalo basketball on the map. Ranked in the top 25 all year. Great team, even better people. I have the highest character group of kids I ever worked with. Disappointed it ended like this. We wanted to go further. We won't let one loss define us -- we had an unbelievably successful year beyond what anybody could imagine happened here at Buffalo."
Buffalo's 32 wins were not only the most in school history, but the most ever by a Mid-American Conference program.