After struggling from the field in the first half and trailing Southern California by nine points at halftime, Texas Tech found its groove in the second half and raced past the Trojans.
Tariq Owens and Jarett Culver each scored 18 points as they fed off of each other in the final 20 minutes, leading the way to the Red Raiders 78-63 victory over USC on Monday night at the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City.
Culver tossed an alley-oop pass that Owens threw down for a dunk and a six-point Texas Tech lead with 6:20 remaining. The play ignited a 7-0 Red Raiders run as they established a double-digit lead for the first time in the contest.
USC never got back within five points.
Texas Tech guards Matt Mooney and Davide Moretti helped set a more aggressive tone on the offensive end in the second half and both finished with 17 points.
Culver seemed comfortable in the leading role on the national TV stage. Along with his 18 points, he dished out 5 assists, grabbed 9 rebounds and came up with 3 steals.
The Red Raiders (4-0) pressured USC (2-2) into 17 turnovers, a major factor in holding the Trojans to 20 points through the first 13 minutes of the second half. Texas Tech closed USC’s 9-point halftime edge to 1 in the first 5 minutes of the second half. Then Moretti’s jumper in the lane boosted the Red Raiders in front with 14:40 remaining.
Mooney made a layup and hit a 3-pointer, both on assists from Moretti, in the first 100 seconds of the second half to get the Red Raiders started. He finished with 4 steals, 4 assists and 5 rebounds to go along with scoring in double digits.