Texas Tech dominated on defense once again and, boosted by Jarrett Culver’s 16 points and 10 rebounds, shut down Buffalo 78-58 Sunday to reach the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.
The third-seeded Red Raiders (28-6) broke away with a 27-3 burst that spanned both halves. They’ll next face Michigan in the West Regional semifinals.
Sixth-seeded Buffalo (32-4) had won 13 in a row and was averaging over 85 points per game, fifth-best in the nation. But the Bulls were shooting under 30 percent until a late flurry.
It was a repeat performance for the Red Raiders — in the first round Friday, they stifled potent Northern Kentucky, which had been scoring 79 points per game, in a 72-57 victory.
Norense Odiase contributed a season-high 14 points and 15 rebounds for Texas Tech, which has won 11 of 12.
Nick Perkins had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Buffalo. The MAC champions for the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Bulls were the conference’s highest-ever seed (since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985) and reached the NCAA second round for the second year in a row.
Leading scorer C.J. Massinburg, who averaged 18.3 points per game for the Bulls, had just two in the first half. He finished with 14, scoring mostly down the stretch with the game already decided.
Buffalo took its only lead of the day, 25-24, with 3:24 left in the opening half when Davonta Jordan connected on a 3-pointer. But Texas Tech responded by scoring the final nine points of the half and continued that dominance after the break.
Over the first 7 1/2 half minutes of the second half, the Red Raiders outscored Buffalo 18-3 while the Bulls missed each of their first eight shots from the floor.
Texas Tech pushed its advantage to 62-33 when Brandone Francis’ free throw capped off another 9-0 run with 9:15 remaining, and the Red Raiders managed to maintain at least a 20-point lead the rest of the way.
Buffalo: The Bulls struggled at the beginning, falling behind 6-0 and 10-2, making just one of their first seven shots. Buffalo’s deficit grew to 19-6 after the first nine minutes, and at that point, the Bulls were being outrebounded 15-3.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders had five different players score double-digit points, with Davide Moretti and Matt Mooney each getting 11 and Tariq Owens scoring 10, along with seven rebounds. Owens and Odiase were a combined 8-for-8 from the floor.
Texas Tech advanced to the Sweet 16 and will take on No. 2 seed Michigan in Anaheim on Thursday.