basketball-men-d1 flag

Wayne Staats | NCAA.com | December 21, 2018

Duke knocks Texas Tech from undefeated list, but both teams in position for tournament runs

UNC rises as Michigan remains No. 1 in Andy Katz's new Power 36

Texas Tech is leaving New York City no longer on the list of undefeated teams.

But Texas Tech proved it is a serious Final Four contender — just like Duke.

Even though No. 12 Texas Tech fell for the first time this season in the 69-58 loss to No. 2 Duke at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Red Raiders only cemented their status as a top team. All this coming from a program that reached the Elite Eight last season yet started this season...unranked.

MORE: The remaining undefeated teams in college basketball

Against a team starring some of the top players in the country, Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver stood out among them all, scoring 25 points on 9-for-21 shooting. But the Red Raiders missed having a second consistent scorer.

Still, Texas Tech has its defense. For much of the game, the potent Duke attack looked earth-bound against the nation's top scoring defense, as the Blue Devils missed their first 14 3-pointers and struggled to score when not in transition. Zion Williamson finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and battled tough around the rim, but he fouled out with 3:51 to play. R.J. Barrett scored 16 points, but he finished 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

However, fellow freshman Tre Jones delivered, totaling 13 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and six steals. Jack White came off the bench to hit two huge 3-pointers to help Duke pull away.

MORE: AP rankings | NET rankings

In the first half, Texas Tech committed an ugly 15 turnovers, leading to easy points for a Duke team that thrives in transition.

But other than that, the Red Raiders had the perfect formula for a win.

  • Duke went 0-for-10 on 3-pointers in the first half.
  • Duke had 10 turnovers.
  • Duke, which ranked No. 5 in the nation in scoring coming in (93.6 points per game), posted a season-low 28 in a half to trail 29-28 at the break.

Like Gonzaga during the Maui Invitational, Texas Tech understood that a huge Duke run would be inevitable. The key is to answer.

So when the Red Raiders trailed 8-0, saw a couple loud Duke blocks and committed three turnovers, coach Chris Beard called a timeout.

Texas Tech played better on offense, even with the turnover problem, and forced Duke to score in the half court.

For a long time in the game, it worked. The Red Raiders led by as many as eight in the second half at 42-34. But the Blue Devils started hitting some shots and holding Texas Tech to empty trips.

Along with Texas Tech showing it belonged among any list of title contenders, Thursday's game showed another thing.

Sure, Duke has a powerful offense. But the Blue Devils' defense might be the secret weapon.

MORE: What each top-10 team should want for Christmas

College basketball rankings: Duke, Purdue battle for No. 1 spot in Andy Katz's latest Power 36 rankings

Lots of teams had a case for the No. 1 spot in Andy Katz's latest Power 36 rankings.
READ MORE

Men's college basketball: the good, bad and ugly from a busy pre-Thanksgiving weekend

A rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly from teams that played over a busy pre-Thanksgiving weekend, according to NCAA.com contributor Mike Lopresti.
READ MORE

The top 10 men's college basketball teams that have lived up to the hype

These 10 men's basketball teams have lived up to their preseason hype, according to Andy Katz.
READ MORE
Presented by
Presented by
Presented by

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners