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Men's Basketball

Evans leads No. 14 Texas Tech to 70-63 win over Carolina
Jan. 27, 2018

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Men's Basketball vs. No. 14/14 Texas Tech

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) As soon as Keenan Evans saw his go-ahead 3-pointer go through the net, the Texas Tech senior had a message for the Red Raiders.

''OK, we're here,'' Evans told them. ''Let's finish this game.''

Thanks to Evans, No. 14 Texas Tech did. Evans scored 31 points and Texas Tech rallied from five points down with 6 minutes left to defeat South Carolina 70-63 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.

After the Gamecocks (13-8) built a 58-53 lead, Evans scored eight of his team's next nine points to move in front. His 3-pointer from left of the foul line put the Red Raiders (17-4) up for good, 62-61, with 2:12 left.

''Evans was coming at us every play because he's not going to allow his team to lose,'' South Carolina coach Frank Martin said.

Evans closed things out with a three-point play with 46 seconds left to secure the win in the teams' first meeting since December 1976.

Texas Tech outscored South Carolina 17-5 over the final six minutes.

Evans had four 3-pointers and made all 13 of his foul shots. Zhaire Smith scored 11 points, the only other Texas Tech player in double figures.

Evans felt the Red Raiders had gone passive early in the second half as South Carolina wiped out an eight-point deficit to take the lead. He took it upon himself to up his game down the stretch. ''Being aggressive is what I needed to do,'' he said.

Evans was nearly unstoppable in the second half. He made five of seven shots, three of them 3-pointers, and hit all eight foul shots.

''They locked in and we lost our mind,'' South Carolina's Chris Silva said.

The Gamecocks appeared to be on the verge of rallying against another Top 25 opponent. They came from 14 points down to top then 18th-ranked Kentucky 76-68 on Jan. 16, then were 11 points down at No. 20 Florida before their 77-72 win Wednesday night.

This time, though, South Carolina's rally came up short, as it missed six of its final seven field-goal tries.

Silva led the Gamecocks with 16 points before fouling out in the final minute.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders went into a massive shooting funk with about five minutes left in the opening half. They went 6 for 20 during a 20-minute stretch that saw them squander an eight-point lead and trail 58-53 with 6:20 left. Texas Tech came in sixth in Big 12 Conference shooting at 47.1 percent a game.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks have had a knack for coming out on top in ugly games, but aggressive play cost South Carolina in this one. Frank Booker was called for an intentional foul with the Gamecocks holding a lead, and two starters, forward Silva and point guard Wesley Myers, fouled out. Texas Tech made 23 of its 28 foul shots.

LOUD CROWD

Red Raiders coach Chris Beard gushed about the loud atmosphere at South Carolina, particularly in the second half when Zhaire Smith missed two foul shots with less than 7 minutes left that had the crowd of 14,142 roaring. When told it was part of a promotion that gave fans a free chicken sandwich, Beard chuckled, then looked around for any Texas Tech administrators. ''Can we get in on that?'' he joked.

KEY STAT

The No. 14 Red Raiders came into today's game second to last in the Big 12 in team free throw percentage. Today they went 23-for-28 (82 percent) and improved to 14-0 when making more foul shots than their opponent.

NOTABLE

  • Chris Silva finished with a team-high 16 points in 29 minutes of work. The junior big man has now scored 10 or more points in 16 games during the 2017-18 season.

  • The freshmen duo of Justin Minaya (11) and Felipe Haase (11) combined for 22 points. Haase played just 11 minutes, but was 4-for-5 from the field.

  • Graduate transfer guard Frank Booker knocked down a trio of 3s, marking his 10th game this season with three or makes from behind the arc.

  • The Gamecocks continue to excel on the offensive glass, as they finished with 14 offensive rebounds this afternoon. Carolina has 10 or more offensive boards in 19 of the team's 21 games this season.

UP NEXT

South Carolina resumes SEC play when Mississippi State travels to Columbia for a matchup on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Tip time is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET, with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Pat Bradley (analyst) on the call for the SEC Network broadcast.


 

 

 

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