LUBBOCK, Texas – Kyler Edwards recorded the first double-double of his career with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Nimari Burnett approached the program steals record to help lead No. 17 Texas Tech to an 81-40 non-conference win over Grambling State on Sunday at the United Supermarkets Arena.
The Red Raiders (4-1) forced 30 turnovers for the first time since the 2009 season opener against South Dakota and held an opponent to the lowest point total since limiting Incarnate Word to only 37 points in the 2018-19 season opener. Grambling (1-3) was held to 35.1 percent shooting by Tech which has not allowed an opponent to shoot over 40 percent through five games and now has a 27.8 scoring margin advantage this season after also beginning the weekend with an 80-46 win over Troy on Friday.
“In the first half, we were as frustrated as we’ve been,” said Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard who earned his 98th win leading the program. “Only equal by the Houston game the first half and so you’ve got to get Grambling a lot of credit. It’s not like we’re out there trying not to play well but I thought Grambling has a great game plan it forced us into some mistakes in the first half especially. So, that’s an experienced team that’s a well-coached team, we are going to pull for those guys the rest of the season.”
Edwards, who was coming off a season-high 14 points against Troy, also added five assists, two steals and two blocks in the game. He finished with two 3-pointers in only 21 minutes of play in the 41-point decision. Burnett was one steal shy of matching the program’s all-time steals record after finishing with six steals to go along with a career-high 12 points. Burnett, who hit a 3-pointer to give the Red Raiders a 46-26 lead, was 7-for-7 at the free-throw line and also went 2-for-3 from the field with one 3-pointer.
“It felt good because I’ve been working really hard all summer,” Edwards said. “I want to be the best junior guard in the country. I’ve been working hard on the glass and I got them. I tried to give as much energy as I could. Whether that’s rebounding, scoring or dishing out to open teammates that’s what I’m going to do to pump us up.”
A trio of Red Raiders finished with 12 points with Mac McClung and Terrence Shannon, Jr. joining Burnett while Jamarius Burton scored a season-high 10 points and also had three assists. McClung had led the Red Raiders in scoring in the first four games and would score all 12 of his points in the second half by going 6-for-6 at the free-throw line and 2-for-3 from the field. Burton, McClung and Edwards had two 3-pointers each for the Red Raiders who went 8-for-18 on 3-pointers in the game.
Tech led the game by 14 at halftime but ran away with it in the second by piecing together big runs, highlighted by a 21-2 run that pushed the advantage to 67-30. The run started with Burnett hitting three free throws after being fouled on a shot from beyond the arc and included 11 made free throws from the team. The run was capped by a Vladislav Goldin dunk off an assist from Burnett in transition.
Burnett’s six steals were the most by a Red Raider since Jarrett Culver had six against Rice in 2018 and were one shy of the single-game record of seven that is shared by Josh Gray (2012), Ronald Ross (2004) and Nick Valdez (2002). Burnett came into the game with five steals through the first four contests of his collegiate career.
Grambling was led by Cameron Christian who scored 11 points and had seven rebounds. Christian was 2-for-5 on 3-pointers for the Tigers who finished 2-for-14 on 3-pointers in the game. Dwayne Walker added nine points and Trevell Cunningham seven in the loss.
Texas Tech took a 33-19 lead into halftime with an 11-2 run to end the half, including the final four points from Shannon. Edwards led the team with 11 points and eight rebounds in the opening 20 minutes with two 3-pointers. Santos-Silva and Shannon had six points each, while McClung and Edward were leading the team with three assists. Burton, who hit a 3-pointer to give the Red Raiders a 27-17 lead, had eight points and two assists at the break.
Tech finished the first half shooting just 37.5 percent from the field but were 4-for-10 on 3-pointers. Grambling stayed in the game for much of the first half with the Red Raiders shooting below their season average despite the Tigers struggling also. Grambling shot just 1-for-8 on 3-pointers at halftime and were at 33.3 percent going into the second half. Christon was leading the Tigers with eight points.
The Red Raiders will complete their three-game home stand by hosting Abilene Christian (5-0) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the USA. ACU is coming off a 69-48 win over Tarleton State on Saturday night and a 20-11 overall record last season. Tech is 25-12 all-time against the Wildcats with the most recent matchup resulting in an 82-48 win on Dec. 15, 2018 in the final game at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. The game will be broadcasted on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the TTSN.
Additional Quote – Chris Beard
“I think it starts with some individual performances. Marcus does his job and gets three down from the glass and gets three offensive rebounds in a Division I game, in only 22 minutes. The players in the Big 12 are averaging three offensive rebounds in a game we’re top in that category which is translating directly to NBA opportunity. That’s an uncanny stat, when you look at the category and where it translates to individual players and also team success. Brian Burg was always throwing around, ‘Hey if we can finish top-three in offensive rebounds as a team, it’s a path to the Sweet Sixteen.’ So Marcus plays well tonight. If he gets his normal minutes he might be getting a five offensive rebounding night which is elite. We had a lot of individual performances tonight. Mac McClung goes 6 for 6 on the free-throw line. Nimari plays a game when he gets three assists and no turnover and six steals. Nimari is a talented guy. Kyler 11 rebounds, how about TJ Shannon’s floor game, five for seven from the floor gets to 12 points on seven shots. How about the freshman coming in late, with Clarence as a sophomore, Avery, Vlad, that group did a great job at the end. A no turnover finish to the game tonight. Lots of great individual performances tonight, and that’s what translates to team success.”