Davide Moretti scored 19 points and Matt Mooney added 14 to help No. 11 Texas Tech hold off Kansas State 63-57 on Saturday in a matchup of defensive-minded teams.
Barry Brown led the Wildcats with 16 points and Cartier Diarra added 11 on a day when they struggled to make shots and hit just 33 percent (19 of 57) from the field.
Kansas State (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) erased most of a 34-19 halftime deficit when Brown knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:55 to go that pulled the Wildcats to within 43-42.
But Texas Tech (13-1, 2-0) found some offensive rhythm to pull away, despite some struggles at the free-throw line in the second half (15 of 23). Moretti hit a series of big shots in the second half to account for 10 straight points and help the Red Raiders overcome 13 turnovers in the half.
He answered Brown’s long-range shot with a 3-pointer 16 seconds later to trigger a 7-0 run. Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, who struggled against the Kansas State defense, gave his team a 53-43 lead with 2:21 to go when he hit three free throws.
Playing again without Big 12 preseason player of the year Dean Wade, the Wildcats fell into a huge hole early because they couldn’t make shots.
Kansas State missed its first 13 shots from the floor until Diarra got loose on a runout and hit a driving layup at the 9:12 mark. That basket triggered a brief Wildcats’ surge — seven points in 1:18 — as they clawed back to within 17-10.
Texas Tech hit a lull about that same time, missing seven field goals in a row after DeShaun Coprew buried a 3-pointer at the 12:02 mark.
Moretti helped the Red Raiders get back on track when he hit a 3, Culver made his only field goal of the first half on an offensive rebound and those shots helped Tech close the half on a 17-9 run.
Kansas State: Offensive efficiency remains a problem for the Wildcats with Wade out and point guard Kamau Stokes limited by an injury. To avoid a 0-3 start in conference play for the first time since 2015-16, K-State needs more scorers to emerge.
Texas Tech: Winning ugly is becoming a specialty for the Raiders, but their defense gives them an edge against most foes when games play out that way.
Kansas State: The Wildcats head back home to take on West Virginia on Wednesday.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders play host to Oklahoma on Tuesday night.
Source: The Associated Press