No. 20 Texas Tech rallies past Memphis in Miami, 78-67

<p>
              Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway directs the players against Texas Tech during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Air Force Reserve Hoophall Miami Invitational in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)
            </p>

MIAMI (AP) — Shooters get hot all the time in basketball.

Tariq Owens says the same applies to shot-blockers like himself. And No. 20 Texas Tech is extremely fortunate that he found his way into a groove just in time on Saturday.

Owens blocked six shots in the last nine minutes, fueling a 33-10 game-ending run that carried the Red Raiders to a 78-67 comeback win over Memphis on Saturday at the HoopHall Miami Invitational. Owens finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high-tying eight blocks in only 24 minutes.

“I got in a little zone,” Owens said. “We picked it up as a team. Our team defense was better … and that makes it easier for me to do what I do.”

What he did, at least on Saturday, was change the game.

Memphis missed 17 of its last 21 shots, Owens erasing six of them with blocks and changing several others that he didn’t get one of his hands on to swat away. And afterward, all the Tigers could do was laud his effort.

“He changed the whole pace of the game,” said Tyler Harris, who led Memphis with 17 points. “I feel like we could have overcome it, but we kind of got down on ourselves.”

Kyvon Davenport added 13 for Memphis (3-4), which led by 13 early in the second half and was still up 57-45 with about 9 minutes left. The Tigers shot 35 percent for the game, and allowed Texas Tech to shoot 49 percent — including 57 percent in the second half.

Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said he’s seeing signs of progress.

“The team has to continue to buy in,” Hardaway said. “We need 40 minutes. Right now, we’re buying in for 30.”

Jarrett Culver scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half for the Red Raiders. Deshawn Corprew scored 12 points and Brandone Francis added 10 points for Texas Tech, which has won all seven of its games this season by double digits.

“I feel like this team has a lot of heart,” Culver said. “And we’re going to continue to have it.”

Memphis led for 33 of the game’s 40 minutes.

“There are no moral victories,” Hardaway said. “I’m not happy at all. We had this win.”

BIG PICTURE

Memphis: It was a homecoming for Hardaway and Tigers assistant Mike Miller, both of whom played for the Miami Heat — whose building played host to Saturday’s four-game event. Miller was a key part of Miami’s NBA championships in 2012 and 2013, and Hardaway’s playing career ended with a 16-game stint with the Heat a decade ago. Hardaway said he’s taking a lot of the Heat principles like toughness and integrating them into the system he’s building with the Tigers.

Texas Tech: This was the second game this season where the Red Raiders found themselves facing a double-digit deficit, and ran away in the second half. It also happened Nov. 19 against USC, when the Red Raiders outscored the Trojans 55-31 after halftime. The second-half score Saturday: Texas Tech 50, Memphis 30.

FLORIDA GUESTS

Texas Tech was playing in Miami for the first time since 1952, and in Florida for the first time since 2011. Memphis, on the other hand, was playing in Florida for the first time since last weekend — when it had three games in Orlando as part of the Advocare Invitational. The Tigers have played seven games, with four of them in Florida. And they return to the Sunshine State for games in February against South Florida (Feb. 2) and UCF (Feb. 16).

THE SERIES

Memphis fell to 6-1 in the series. This was the first meeting between the schools since 1985.

UP NEXT

Memphis: Hosts South Dakota State on Tuesday.

Texas Tech: Hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday.