It was all gravy for Texas Tech on Thanksgiving night.
The Red Raiders feasted on the UAA men's basketball team Thursday, rolling to a 74-47 victory in the first round of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout in front of a near-sellout crowd of 8,209 at Sullivan Arena.
Texas Tech blew the doors off the 16th-ranked Division II Seawolves in the opening half, racing to a 14-2 lead in the first four minutes and carrying a 42-20 advantage into halftime. The Red Raiders poured it on from there.
"We got off to a very good start, obviously. And I think that made a huge difference in the way the game went," said Texas Tech coach Bob Knight. "That's the best we've played all year."
Surprisingly, it wasn't senior standout Martin Zeno that got the 3-1 Red Raiders off and flying. It was a pair of true freshmen, Mike Singletary and John Roberson. They combined to score 22 of the team's first 24 points and netted 13 apiece by the half.
Meanwhile, UAA (2-1) looked out of sorts, out of sync and out of luck.
"I think we came out and we thought about the name Texas Tech and not another basketball team," said UAA freshman Lonnie Ridgeway of Anchorage. "We thought about their coach Bobby Knight and not another basketball coach. Even though we said we didn't, I could just tell."
It was one of the worst defeats in school history, the largest loss in the Shootout since a 90-55 pounding by Alabama in 2004 and the first time UAA was held under 50 points since a 62-42 loss at Kentucky in December of 1999.
"This one hurts because we knew we could play with them, we just didn't show it," said UAA senior Carl Arts of Valdez. "We thought we were really prepared for the game. I don't know what went wrong."
Blame Singletary and Roberson.
The 6-foot-5 Singletary played like an upperclassman, pumping in 15 points and collecting six rebounds. Early on, he delivered a three-pointer, a pretty post move and a one-handed jam. The crazy thing is that he hadn't even scored in the first two games of his career, logging a total of seven minutes.
The baby-faced Roberson, a 5-11 guard, shot the ball like a pro, sinking 6-of-7 threes and finishing with game-high totals of 22 points and five assists. He had racked up quite a bit of playing time so far this season, but in his last game scored just six points in 28 minutes.
And then there was fellow freshman D'walyn Roberts, who chipped in nine points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Together, the three frosh were good for 46 points on Thursday to nearly double their combined points (25) from the previous three games and nearly outscore UAA's entire team.
"All three of those freshmen have played varying amounts as we've gone along," Knight said. "The other side of your coin is if they're playing better in some cases than guys that have been here have been playing. There's always two sides to a coin."
Arts led UAA with nine points and a career-high 16 rebounds. The 6-6 all-conference senior never got in rhythm offensively, missing 8-of-10 shots, but he made up for it with muscle and hustle. Never one to let up, even when the Seawolves are getting hammered, Arts went hard until the final horn.
"You gotta shrug it off and think about the next play," he said. "It's tough. They played a physical type of basketball."
Seniors Chris Bryant and Luke Cooper each scored eight points, but neither played well. Bryant, the first-year transfer from Drake University, suffered a poor 3-for-14 shooting night, and Cooper, the all-conference point guard, had more turnovers (5) than assists (4).
The best UAA highlight in the second half was probably a dunk attempt by Ridgeway, a 6-3 redshirt freshman and former Alaska small schools high school player of the year. With just 1:43 to play, Ridgeway got loose on the baseline and tried to dunk on the 6-7 Roberts. Ridgeway was fouled and sank both free throws.
"I think when you take it in strong like that and get contact, even if you miss it, it really gets the whole team into it," Ridgeway said. "You gotta try it."
Knight, the Hall of Fame coach with 893 career victories, seemed more impressed with UAA's relentless effort despite the lopsided score than how well his own team played.
"I like the way their team is coached and the way they play," he said. "I've been in that position too, where it looks like you can't ever dig yourself out of it. Those kids kept working hard."
Find assistant sports editor Van Williams online at adn.com/contact/vwilliams or call 357-4335.
TEXAS TECH (74) -- Cook 1-2 2-2 4; Singletary 6-9 2-2 15; Zeno 4-11 1-1 9; Voskuil 2-3 4-5 8; Roberson 8-9 0-0 22; Craig 1-3 0-0 2; Roberts 4-7 1-2 9; Hoffmeister 0-0 0-0 0; Prince 0-0 1-1 1; Rizvic 2-2 0-0 4; Burgess 0-3 0-0 0; De Bem 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 28-50 11-13 74.
UAA (47) -- Burney 1-3 0-0 3; Olsen 2-6 0-0 4; Arts 2-10 5-9 9; Bryant 3-14 0-0 8; Cooper 3-7 0-0 8; White 1-2 0-0 3; Ridgeway 1-5 2-2 4; Hardy 0-1 0-0 0; Trueman 3-3 0-2 6; Voreis 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 17-52 7-13 47.
Three-point goals -- Texas Tech 7-13 (Singletary 1-1, Zeno 0-2, Roberson 6-7, Craig 0-1, Roberts 0-1, Burgess 0-1); UAA 6-26 (Burney 1-3, Arts 0-2, Bryant 2-12, Cooper 2-5, White 1-2, Ridgeway 0-2). Fouled Out -- Texas Tech - None; UAA - None. Rebounds -- Texas Tech 33 (Voskuil 7); UAA 29 (Arts 16). Assists -- Texas Tech 18 (Zeno 5, Roberson 5). Total Fouls -- Texas Tech 20; UAA 16. Technical Fouls -- Texas Tech - None; UAA - None. Officials -- Eric Curry, Martin Cota, Bill McNew. A -- 8,209.
Texas Tech 42 32 -- 74
UAA 20 27 -- 47
CLEANUP MAN: UAA's Jeremiah Trueman patrols the paint and does the grunt work for the Seawolves.
more shootout: Check out past stories and photos, men's and women's brackets and a poll of the best center, forward and guard in tournament history.
By VAN WILLIAMS