NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Andre Emmett and Texas Tech exploited Utah's major weakness.
Emmett scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half as the 25th-ranked Red Raiders advanced to the championship of the Preseason NIT with a 65-54 victory.
Texas Tech (4-0) turned up the defensive pressure against a Utah team that entered averaging 19 turnovers per game. The Red Raiders forced 18 turnovers on Wednesday, converting them into 19 points.
"You have to start with defensive play," Texas Tech coach Bob Knight said. "It's usually the defense that enables the offense to get the lead."
The Red Raiders will face Georgia Tech in Friday's title game.
Emmett had six points and Devonne Giles added four in a 12-2 tear that gave Texas Tech the lead for good at 27-18 with 6:22 left in the first half. Giles netted 11 of his 13 points in the first half and the Red Raiders took a 35-25 lead into intermission.
Another turnover by Utah led to a fast-break dunk by Emmett for a 41-29 advantage with 16:45 left. Freshman Jarrius Jackson, who had fours steals, converted one of them into a layup for a 49-35 cushion with 11:33 to go.
"We just tried to get up in our man, try to get into passing lanes, try to be aggressive," said Jackson, who scored 11 of his 13 points after halftime.
The Utes (3-1) did not get closer than eight points in the second half. Texas Tech's biggest lead was 63-46 on Curtis Marshall's layup with just over three minutes left.
Emmett was isolated on the wing in Knight's motion offense, taking advantage on drives to the basket. The senior swingman, who flirted with the idea of entering the NBA in the offseason, made 8-of-15 shots and added two of the Red Raiders' 12 steals.
"It's basically an offense where I can get the ball anywhere," Emmett said. "I'm definitely fortunate to play for coach Knight."
Utah point guard Tim Drisdom was the team's biggest culprit. Drisdom had five turnovers, giving him 20 for the season. The Utes had 10 miscues by halftime for the second straight game.
"We got manhandled," Utah coach Rick Majerus said. "They were more physical, more dominant, more determined."
The game pitted Knight and Majerus, who have combined for more than 1,200 victories. Knight, fourth on the all-time list, notched his 813th career triumph and improved to 4-1 lifetime against Majerus.
Richard Chaney led Utah with 17 points. Heralded freshman center Andrew Bogut managed nine and 13 rebounds.