LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Dejan Kravic certainly made the most of his minutes on Sunday afternoon. Kravic scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds, in just nine minutes of play, to lead Texas Tech to a 79-57 over Central Arkansas.
"I haven't really been playing the toughest this season," Kravic said. "I was coming off the bench and I knew I had to play even harder, playing a different role. I had to play as tough as I can. Inside I knew we had the advantage so I went at them."
Jaye Crockett, Jordan Tolbert and Toddrick Gotcher each added 10 points for the Red Raiders.
Oliver Wells led Central Arkansas (2-5) with 14 points, shooting 4 of 6 from 3-point range while Jalen Jackson and Deshone McClure each added 11 points.
The teams traded the lead five times early in the first half until a Kader Tapsoba jumper ultimately regained the lead for the Red Raiders, 23-22, with 6:08 remaining. Robert Turner and Aaron Ross scored Texas Tech's (7-3) next 13 points, helping them take a 39-26 lead into the half.
The Bears stormed out the second half on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 39-33 with 17:19 left in the game until Kravic scored eight consecutive points allowing Tech to pull away. Ten of Kravic's 13 points came in just six minutes of play in the second half. Gotcher also came off the bench with a hot hand shooting 4 of 5 from the field and 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
"He's a man of character," Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said of Gotcher. "He comes every day ready to play. He's very quiet, a real humble kid. He's going to find his way into our lineup with the way he's played."
Overall, nearly half of Tech's points (37 of 79) came off of the bench.
"The energy didn't seem to be there like we needed it to be, we didn't move the ball as quickly as I would like, so I made a change," Smith said.
Once the Red Raiders took a double-digit lead, they picked up the pace and piled on the points. As a team, Tech had 11 steals and 17 assists, which resulted in 32 points off of turnovers.
With 8:31 left in the game, a Toddrick Gotcher pass that resulted in a Kravic alley-oop layup, ignited a 12-0 run for the Red Raiders and helped them pull ahead 61-39. They eventually built the lead up to as much as 26 on a Tapsoba dunk with 6:01 left in the game.
"Coach Smith's halftime message was basically to pick it up and do the fundamentals, keep it simple," Gotcher said. "I think we were trying to do too much."
Texas Tech, which had a clear height advantage at nearly every position, out-rebounded UCA 36 to 25 and scored 40 points in the paint to UCA's 18.
"I think coach Smith has this team ahead of schedule," UCA coach Clarence Finley said. "The reason he has it is they are very, very, very patient offensively."
UCA shot 47 percent, 9 of 19, from the 3-point range, compared to Tech hitting only 4 of 16 threes. Aubrey Ball scored on 3 of 5 3-pointers to add nine more points for the Bears.
The Red Raiders attributed their slow start to their 11-day break leading up to the game. Wednesday night they'll host an LSU team that is currently 6-2.
"That was a big win for us," Gotcher said. "Even though we started out slow we came out and finished strong. We're taking it game by game, getting ready for LSU."