Lew swats it away
Texas Tech center Robert Lewandowski knocks down a shot by Flames' forward Antwan Burrus during Tech’s 79-71 victory against Liberty on Sunday in the United Spirit Arena.

Although the season is still young, Texas Tech basketball coach Pat Knight knows his team needs to get off to some better starts, especially with a tough conference schedule looming.

The Red Raiders (3-1) have led two of their games at the half and trailed two. Tech’s leads were by a single point each.

Tech has shot more than 41 percent in the first half just once this season — an overtime loss at North Texas.

“We have to (start better) because if you’re playing Texas or Kansas, instead of being down by one or four, you’re going to be down by 15 or 20,” Knight said. “And we’ve just got to have a better first half, and we just haven’t had it yet.

“We’ve had really good second halves in the last four games, but we’ve got to put together a good first half. And we really need to put together two good halves is what we want.”

Tech has a chance to redeem itself for some slow first halves at 7:30 p.m. today in the United Spirit Arena against Georgia Southern (2-2).

Even if the Red Raiders come out shooting blanks again tonight, they have two games in the South Padre Island Invitational on Friday and Saturday to get their mojo running before a Dec. 4 match at No.13 Washington.

One of the bright spots in Sunday’s win against Liberty was the second-half play of senior David Tairu, who opened up his game to score 15 points, most of it from the paint — an unexpected place for a 6-foot-3 guard to be scoring.

“It’s just a matter of just letting the game come to you,” Tairu said of his success driving the lane. “Last year, I was (more) known as a shooter, so I’m just trying to expand my game. By me being able to add my drive to my game, it’s going to open the floor to my jump shots.”

Tairu is one of nine Red Raiders who rotate in during any given game. Three different players have led Tech in scoring in each game. However, injuries to Paul Cooper and D’Walyn Roberts have limited the Red Raiders in terms of power forwards and costing two of the top rebounding threats on the team.

Tech has been outrebounded in all four of their games this season, and no player has logged more than nine boards in a game.

Senior forward Mike Singletary said he struggled the first two games, and he was benched for the third game. Last year’s leading scorer, Singletary is fifth this season. However, the Red Raiders have been able to light up the scoreboard fairly well this season; it’s just the defensive stops that need to come more frequently.

“I just think we need to be more focused coming out, and we can’t take teams lightly,” Singletary said. “I think we’re in shock, kind of, whenever the other team hits their first bucket, and we just kind of lean back on our heels and start figuring out, ‘OK, we really got to start playing now.’”

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