Texas Tech's return to the United Spirit Arena was a good one as the Red Raiders took down Grambling State 87-59 on Sunday night.
The game was the first for Tech at home since their victory over Stephen F. Austin on November 20, and it started off fast as the Red Raiders opened up a 27-2 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Luke Adams led the way in the early going for Tech (5-4) as he scored 12 of the teams first 14 points on 4-4 shooting from beyond the arc while playing all 20 minutes in the half.
This was Adams' first start of his young career and he finished with 15 points to go with 4 steals.
Tech head coach Billy Gillispie said Adams always gives good effort and it showed in his play on Sunday.
"He makes shots every day in practice," he said. "He can make shots, he led 3A in scoring and he can shoot it, but he can really score and he's done a good job of making us better offensively."
Robert Lewandowski appeared to get into a groove as well in the first half with 10 of his 16 points. This is only the second time he has been in double digits on the season and the first time since November 16.
But the attack slowed down for the Red Raiders in the latter portion of the half thanks to some sloppy turnovers and suspect shooting.
Tech started the game on fire going 8-for-11 from the floor in the first eight minutes only to finish the half 8-for-20 while making only one more three pointer.
Grambling (0-7) took advantage of the suspect shooting and started making their own shots finishing the half on a 26-20 run. They kept themselves in the game by taking advantage of their free throw opportunities going 9-for-12 from the line.
The half closed with the Red Raiders leading the Tigers 47-28.
In the second half, the story became about Jordan Tolbert. The Freshman from Fort Worth only had 4 points in the first half, but in the second, he brought his total to 22 including 13 of the teams first 18 points.
Gillispie said a problem Freshmen often face is when they listen to people too much. And much of the city of Lubbock is talking about how good Tolbert is and he may have been listening to that closely.
"I don't think he played as hard as he needed to play in the first half," he said, "and that's why he didn't play as many minutes so some other guys picked it up for him, and he played much better and much harder in the second half."
And Tolbert's presence is what made the difference for the Red Raiders. His work on the inside led to the entire team's success as Tech outscored the Tigers in the paint 40-12.
With the influence on the inside, Grambling State was forced to shoot from the outside and struggled mightily going 6-22 from beyond the arc for the game.
But even with the scoring presence of Tolbert and Lewandowski on the inside, the Red Raiders once again struggled on the boards, and more specifically, they struggled containing Peter Roberson.
Roberson had 14 points and 15 rebounds on the night, but more importantly, he had 8 offensive rebounds, helping his team win the rebounding battle 42-40.
Coach Billy Gillispie said even though the Tigers' record is not very good, they do have some very good pieces in which to make a basketball team starting with Roberson.
"He's a very good player," he said. "I'd love to have him on our team."
But in the end, whether Tech had trouble with rebounding or not, the Red Raiders depth was just too much for the Tigers in the 87-59 Texas Tech victory.
The night ended with four of five of Tech's starters in double digits with Tolbert leading the way with his 22 points and 7 rebounds.
Robert Lewandowski finished with 16 points and said he tries to set up Tolbert as often as he can.
"I love passing the ball to that kid," he said, "because he can catch it almost anywhere and he scores almost every time."
The Red Raiders get back into action of Thursday as they head to Tulsa to take on the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts.