LUBBOCK (AP) – Forced into the starting lineup after Zach Smith twisted his ankle in warmups, junior transfer Niem Stevenson led Texas Tech with a career-high 16 points, five rebounds and three assists in a 87-50 drubbing of the University of Texas-San Antonio Wednesday.READ MORE: 'The Future Feels Like A Scary Place:' Dallas ISD Program Helps Parents & Students Navigate An Uncertain World
“It’s next man up,” Stevenson, a transfer from Kansas’ Seward County Community College, said. “Zach couldn’t play this game. Just running the offense. Devon (Thomas) finding people, everybody sharing the ball. They trust me to take them shots.”
Keenan Evans scored 16 points and teammate Matthew Temple scored a career-high 13 points.
Justin Gray and Anthony Livingston finished with 10 points apiece for Texas Tech. Thomas added seven points, six rebounds and six assists.
“I’m probably tougher on Devon than anybody on this team because I know that we gotta get something out of him to kind of have the kind of season we all want to have,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said of Thomas.
Texas San Antonio (2-7) was led by 10 points from Jeff Beverly and eight points apiece from Byron Frohnen and Giovanni De Nicolao.
Beverly entered the game averaging 15.8 points per game.
“We just couldn’t get any rhythm going,” Texas-San Antonio coach Steve Henson said. “Tech does a good job, again, on both ends of the floor. Their defense was good. Obviously, people are paying a lot of attention to Jeff.”
The Red Raiders, who never trailed, won the points off a turnover margin of 23-8. Texas Tech outrebounded the Roadrunners 36-27.READ MORE: North Texas Mom Raising Millions To Find Cure For Son's Rare Neurological Disorder
Beard, in his first season as Texas Tech’s coach, has his team on a five-game winning streak.
The Red Raiders’ only loss came to Auburn on Nov. 22, 67-65.
After UTSA was held scoreless for the final three minutes of the first period, Texas Tech led 42-21 at halftime.
Entering the game, Texas Tech was No. 4 in the nation in shooting percentage with 52.3 percent. Against the Roadrunners, it finished shooting 52 percent from the floor.
Texas-San Antonio: The Roadrunners, which last won a game on Nov. 25 against Texas State, are in their first season under Henson. Henson is one of 10 Division I men’s basketball coaches that have both played and coached in the NBA.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have thrived even without standout forwards Norense Odiase and Aaron Ross, who are out with lower leg injuries. Smith, a forward who averages 11.3 points per game, was a late scratch after sustaining an injury during warmups.
“We miss Norense,” Beard said. “And we miss Ross. Now, tonight, the deal with Zach was just a freaky thing. We just have to get healthy more than anything.”
Texas-San Antonio hosts Southeastern Oklahoma State Saturday.
Texas Tech faces Nicholls State at home on Dec. 14.MORE NEWS: 2 Dallas Doctors Sentenced To Combined 23 Years In Prison For Massive Healthcare Fraud
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