Published December 01, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech interim coach Chris Walker was pleased with his team's effort despite getting blown out by No. 9 Arizona.
"They played until the end, and that's what they're all about," he said. "We can't worry about what we didn't do against Arizona, and we have to get our focus back, get our heads up."
Arizona's height was something the Red Raiders hadn't dealt with before and Walker knows his players have to ready for more of that in Big 12 play.
"At the end of the day it's tough to score on teams with that kind of length," he said. "You play a team, they can get you down, keep you down. They play with poise. You can't speed them up. They've got size and experienced guards."
Nick Johnson scored 18 points to lead the Wildcats, who remain unbeaten after the 85-57 victory Saturday night.
Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons each added 14 points for Arizona. Kaleb Tarczewski pulled down 13 rebounds for the Wildcats (5-0).
Texas Tech kept it close early but Arizona steadily pulled away for the easy win. The Wildcats, averaging 10 3-pointers a game coming into the contest, hit eight from beyond the arc on 22 attempts
Jaye Crockett scored 12 points to lead Texas Tech (4-1).
The Wildcats dominated on the boards, pulling down 41 to the Red Raiders 26, and got 16 second-chance points. They also got 21 points off 16 Texas Tech turnovers. The Red Raiders fell well below their per-game point average. They came in averaging 88.8 points in each of their wins.
"Until you go through that 35-game season being small you don't realize how important size is, especially in quality players," said Arizona coach Sean Miller, whose team was undersized last year. "How that affects the game in so many ways and right now with this year's team we have that to our advantage."
Trailing 53-30, the Red Raiders used a 12-2 run, including a 3-pointer by Daylen Robinson and field goals by Jamal Williams and Toddrick Gotcher, to pull within 13 with about 13 minutes remaining in the game. But they couldn't whittle the deficit any more down the stretch.
The Wildcats answered with a 22-3 run, including a dunk by Johnson, two free throws by Lyons, a field goal by Hill and a 3-pointer by Grant Jerrett, to go up 77-45 with about five minutes remaining to seal the victory.
Arizona led 45-28 at the half. Texas Tech's first-half points were a season low.
The Wildcats hit five of six 3s during one stretch in the first half to go ahead 30-18. Hill and Lyons each hit two and Johnson had one during the spurt.
Tech got a quirky score in the first half after Tarczewski grabbed a rebound beneath the Red Raiders bucket. Dejan Kravic knocked it out of his hands and the ball went up in the air and into the basket for a Texas Tech score.