Evans, Texas Tech ready for West Virginia

Joe Sargent  Getty Images

Joe Sargent Getty Images

Dylan Osetkowski scored 20 points to lead Texas to a 68-64 victory over Iowa State on Wednesday in a Big 12 tournament opening-round contest at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Texas center Mohamed Bamba, who was a game-time decision to play, completed an alley-oop dunk to close the Longhorns' deficit to 64-61 before the Red Raiders were able to find a way to salt away their first conference tournament win since 2013.

"We need to get back in (to the postseason) next year for sure because this is a rough feeling here", third-year coach Steve Prohm said.

For the second straight game, Evans netted double figures in the second half.

Senior guard Keenan Evans was again the catalyst for the Red Raiders.

However, it was a second half that did not follow the recent script for the Red Raiders.

Evans averages 17.4 points and is the ideal counterpart to Carter, who scores 17 per game and leads the conference in steals. He finished the half with seven points and four rebounds in seven minutes, including a 3-pointer to cut the Tech lead to 35-28 at halftime. Defensively, Texas basketball yields 68.1 points per game against the opposing teams.

Sophomore guard Jacob Young had a career-high 29 points (including six threes) to bring Texas to within one point at 55-54 with 7:56 left to play.

Texas shot 43.1% from the field compared to Texas Tech's 47.3%.

But it was a key defensive play by freshman Zhaire Smith that swung the momentum to the Red Raiders for good.

The 6-5 freshman used all of his speed and wingspan to block what looked to be an easy layup by Kerwin Roach II on one end of the floor before Evans drove in for a bucket to take a 62-57 advantage with 3:44 to play in the second half. The Texas Longhorns are allowing 32.3 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 33.5 rebounds per game.

Texas heads into Thursday night's quarterfinal against the Red Raiders. You haven't won in the Big 12 tournament. Tech coach Chris Beard said. "You've got to do some things that haven't been done before..." He finished with 10 points in 14 minutes and was trying to negotiate more playing time with the trainers.

While a Big 12 Title is certainly the main goal for Texas Tech this week, Thursday's win strengthened the team's NCAA Tournament resume.

Evans did his part, as he has nearly all season.

Many prognosticators have Texas Tech as a 4 seed in the tournament but the belief is that Tech could move up to a 3 seed if it wins the Big 12 Tournament.

Texas Tech is one of a host of teams in the central time zone hoping to be put in the Dallas regional next week. Culver was the only other Red Raider in double digits with 13 points, as he picked up a double-double with 11 rebounds as well.

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