Petteway puts it up

Texas Tech Terran Petteway shoots the ball over Southwestern Oklahoma State forward Thomas Davis during Tech's 76-70 victory against the Bulldogs on Thursday in United Spirit Arena. Petteway, and the rest of the Red Raiders, were effencient from the free throw line which helped the team stave off the upset loss. Petteway went two for three from the charity stripe as the rest of the team went 26 for 34 including 18 for 20 in the second half.

Texas Tech had six true freshmen see playing time in its first exhibition game of the season, but the Red Raiders were able to overcome their youth.

Although there were some shaky moments, the Red Raiders were able to hold on late and defeat Southwestern Oklahoma State 76-70.

“We were shell-shocked,” head coach Billy Gillispie said. “We’ve got a lot of new guys that were shell-shocked. Not an excuse, just a fact.”

There was some trepidation from the opening tip when Tech fell into an 8-0 hole before Javarez Willis knocked down a three-pointer. The Red Raiders were down 35-31 at half and finally took a 50-49 lead in the second stanza when Jaron Nash nailed a runner during a 9-0 run.

Nash didn’t score in the first half but tallied 11 points and was a perfect 5-5 from the field in the second half.

The sophomore’s contributions weren’t limited to the offensive end though.

The Waterloo, Iowa, native disrupted the Bulldogs with his length, notching two steals.

“(Nash) did a fantastic job of denying passes like we normally try to,” Gillispie said. “He really kind of changed and turned the game for us.”

Alongside Nash, Willis scored a team-high 22 points. The sophomore hit four threes in all and shot 72 percent from the field.

“(Willis) made some big baskets,” Gillispie said. “He made some foul shots, he did OK defensively, not like I need him to. Again, a good starting point for him and we would have been sunk without him.”

Tech was consistent from the free throw line in the second half in a tight finish. The Red Raiders were 10 of 10 in the final two minutes to darmpen any hope had by Southwest Oklahoma. In an otherwise sloppy performance, the steadiness from the charity stripe was crucial.

“I have not told them to shoot a free throw yet in practice,” Gillispie said. “The only thing we did good was the things we haven’t practiced.”

The Bulldogs flustered Tech with a full-court press, causing 28 turnovers and forced the Red Raiders out of tempo. Southwestern Oklahoma State also outhustled Tech on the boards, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds which turned into 11 second chance points.

Those kinds of lapses are something Gillispie wasn’t surprised at.

“It was about what I expected,” Gillispie said. “They did a good job and we did a very, very poor job rebounding. We didn’t do anything like the teams that I normally play, but that’s perfect because we ended up scoring more points than they did and we get a chance to practice again tomorrow.”

Even though the performance wasn’t idyllic, the Red Raiders were able to stave off the upset against a Division II school, a game which served as a litmus test for the team – especially the freshmen.

“We found out a lot tonight,” Gillispie said. “They found out a lot about themselves. That’s why you have exhibition games.”

Tech will be back on the court at 7 p.m. Saturday against Our Lady of the Lake at United Spirit Arena.

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