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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — After facing the first real test of Chris Beard's coaching tenure at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders quickly separated from Eastern Kentucky late in a 90-71 win Saturday behind 20 points and seven rebounds from Shadell Millinghaus.
Justin Gray added 17 points and six rebounds for Texas Tech. Aaron Ross finished with 16 points, including making all 10 of his free throws.
"As a competitor, of course I don't want to see us get out to that kind of a start," Beard said. "But, I look forward to adversity."
The Red Raiders have started 3-0 for the first time since 2012-13 and have won 22 consecutive home nonconference games.
Asante Gist led Eastern Kentucky with 21 points and three assists. Jayle Babb-Harrison had 14 points and Nick Mayo and Zach Charles scored 13 points apiece.
Early in the first half, the Colonels (1-3) maintained leads of 19-9 and 27-12 before being held scoreless for a 4:56 stretch.
"I was proud of the way we got out of the gates quickly, especially after a long day of travel," Eastern Kentucky coach Dan McHale said. "We let (Texas Tech) start carving us up defensively. And they got easy looks. And then the floodgates opened a little bit. We were still in control for most of the first half."
During that cold spell, Texas Tech (3-0) tied the game and finished the first half with a 46-41 lead.
With the game tied 57-57 early in the second half, Texas Tech took a 10-point lead when Eastern Kentucky had a scoring drought that lasted roughly five minutes.
Eastern Kentucky, which made 12 3-pointers, shot 36.8 percent from the floor.
After 24 points off turnovers in its last game against North Texas, the Red Raiders scored 19 points off turnovers.
"Relentless pursuit," Gray said. "Not quitting. Not giving up. And just playing extra hard on the defensive end. Trying to push as much as we can in transition once we get that stop. And just making smart choices on offense."
Eastern Kentucky: Two of Eastern Kentucky's standout underclassmen have continued to perform well. Gist, a freshman, started 4 for 5 from 3-point range. Mayo, the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year last season, had nine second-half points.
"I think (Mayo) is as good as advertised," Beard said. "I know what a pro looks like when I see it. He'll be a guy that plays after college. To me, he's a guy that can start on most BCS teams."
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have been without standout forward Norense Odiase for the third straight game. In a press conference this week, Beard said the timetable for Odiase's return is potentially four to five weeks. Graduate transfer Anthony Livingston (11 points, six rebounds) has started and provided quality frontcourt minutes.
Eastern Kentucky: Visits Idaho State Tuesday afternoon. In November, Eastern Kentucky faces teams from six states — North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Idaho, Kentucky and Indiana.
Texas Tech: Traveling to Mexico for the Cancun Challenge tournament, which starts Tuesday. It will face Auburn and Purdue or Utah State.
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