SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Devaugntah Williams scored 21 points to help Texas Tech beat Minnesota 81-68 in Sunday’s fifth-place game at the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
Zach Smith added 15 points for the Red Raiders (3-1), who gave coach Tubby Smith a victory against the program he led for six seasons.
Texas Tech led by six at halftime, then used a 7-0 burst to stretch the lead out to double figures midway through the second half. The Red Raiders never let that margin dip below nine the rest of the afternoon, shooting 52 percent after halftime to close their stay in San Juan with two straight wins.
Carlos Morris and Joey King each scored 15 points to lead the Gophers (3-2), who never put together enough baskets and stops — they usually got one or the other — to close the gap once Texas Tech finally gained a cushion.
Smith coached the Gophers from 2007-13, going 124-81 and reaching the NCAA Tournament three times. That included earning the program’s first NCAA victory season since 2005 in his final year, but the school fired Smith after he never posted a winning record in the Big Ten and hired Richard Pitino.
Pitino is now in his third season, and there’s only one player left on the Gophers roster that Smith recruited, so there didn’t seem to be a lot of extra emotion for Smith. In fact, the coach sounded more focused after Friday’s win against Mississippi State in having his team finish strong at 2-1 in Puerto Rico.
His team had a good second half, assisting on eight of its first 11 baskets to steadily build some momentum. Smith’s dunk off a feed from Toddrick Gotcher started the 7-0 burst, which ended when Gotcher took a feed from Smith to knock down a 3-pointer for a 65-52 lead with 8:46 left.
Minnesota: Charles Buggs scored 10 points. … Minnesota shot 52 percent and made 4 of 20 3-point tries. … The Gophers had seven assists and 15 turnovers.
Texas Tech: Keenan Evans had 12 points, while Gotcher had 11. … The Red Raiders hit 6 of 12 3-point tries and 21 of 29 free throws. … Texas Tech finished with a 35-30 rebounding advantage and a 16-6 edge in points off turnovers.
Minnesota hosts Omaha on Friday.
Texas Tech hosts Hawaii on Saturday.
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