Javarez Willis averaged just over three points a game last year, he contributed 22 tonight, and Tech needed every one of them en route to a 76-70 victory against Southwestern Oklahoma State on Thursday night at the United Spirit Arena.
Despite it only being an exhibition game, the Bulldogs came in looking to win as Tech didn't obtain a lead until 11:58 was left in the 2nd half when Jaron Nash scored two of his 11 points to put the Red Raiders on top 50-49.
Nash was not alone on the scoring front as he was one of three Red Raiders to reach double-digits including Willis and Lewandowski, who had 18 points on the night.
Coach Billy Gillispie said the game turned out about like he had expected, people don't play exhibition games any more so other teams won't know their weaknesses, but he wanted his team to get the experience of a live game atmosphere before the season started.
The Red Raiders played well in several aspects of the game, shooting over 54 percent from the field for the game and nearly 77 percent from the line.
However, Gillispie said they have a lot to work on.
"They did a good job, and we did a very poor job of rebounding," he said. "We didn't do anything like the teams 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."
They will need the practice too.
The Red Raiders turned the ball over 28 times in the game, and also committed 26 personal fouls, including 16 in the first half, while only out-rebounding SWOSU by three.
The Red Raiders were helped out a lot by the rust of the Bulldogs as well as they shot 32 percent from the floor.
Clearly, Tech needs the work, but the important thing is Tech came away with a win, Gillispie was pleased with the results of not only his team, but of the crowd.
"It was fun to be in here, the fans were great. It was just kind of a dress rehearsal for us, and for the fans and every one of us," he said. "It was a lot of fun in there, and they had a good time watching us turn it over 28 times."
Tech gets back into action this Saturday as they take on Our Lady of the Lake at 7 p.m. here in Lubbock for one final exhibition game.