Red Raiders rout Panthers in season opener

Blake Faith, Men's Basketball Reporter

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The men’s basketball team dropped its first game of the season against 2019 NCAA tournament runner-up Texas Tech 85-60. 

Panther junior George Dixon recorded a double-double in his first Division I basketball game with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“George had a really good game in a lot of areas,” head coach Jay Spoonhour said. “He helped us run offense by popping out and catching, and he was our best option inside.”

Texas Tech’s defense focused on shutting down Eastern’s returning leading-scorer Josiah Wallace from start to finish. The Red Raiders held Wallace to only two points and 1-6 shooting for the entire game.

Texas Tech started its offense early when they jumped out in the first two minutes of the game with a 7-0 run. Junior Deang Deang ignited the Panther offense with a two-point jumper and an assist to get the Panthers’ first four points of the game.

Deang finished the game with nine points and led the Panthers in assists with five. Spoonhour said he believes Deang will really help the team this year with his play.

Junior Mack Smith continued his nation-leading streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer made when he hit a three-pointer with 11:30 left in the first half, bringing the Panthers within three. That three-pointer made Smith’s consecutive game streak increase to 50.

Texas Tech then outscored the Panthers 26-14 in the last 12 minutes of the half to make the score 46-31. 

Texas Tech started the second half strong with a 22-6 scoring run in the first 10 minutes. The Red Raiders outscored the Panthers 39-29 in the second half.

Texas Tech’s offense had four players score in double figures: Jahmi’us Ramsey, TJ Holyfield, Davide Moretti and Terrence Shannon. 

Ramsey led the game in scoring with 19 points. Eastern’s only scorer in double figures was Dixon.

Texas Tech’s defense held the Panthers’ total field goal percentage to 40.4 and recorded seven steals and five blocks.

“Tech (Texas Tech) is obviously a very tough group,” Spoonhour said. “There aren’t any free plays. They guard you for the entire game.” 

The Panthers’ defense did not look the same as it did in its exhibition game, when they recorded 12 blocks and three steals. The Panthers recorded one block and two steals against the Red Raiders. The Red Raider offense shot 55.2 percent from the field and 57.2 percent from the three-point line.

The Panthers will play their next game on the road against Wisconsin. The game will be Friday at 5 p.m.

 

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]