Men's Basketball Storms Past Northwestern

LUBBOCK, TX - The Texas Tech men’s basketball team put together its best 40 minutes of the young season and captured the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tournament title with an 85-49 battering of No. 20 Northwestern Sunday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Red Raiders (4-0) have won four straight games to open the season by a combined 111 points and tucked away the program’s first regular season tournament title dating back to the 2009-10 season when Chris Beard was an Associate Head Coach on Pat Knight’s staff.

The 36-point victory over a ranked opponent is a program record and bested an 88-60 win over No. 16 Tulane at the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City on Dec. 28, 1956 under Polk Robison.

Texas Tech has dialed up seven Associated Press Top 25 wins over the last three seasons and registered its first AP Top 25 victory over a nonconference opponents going back to a 99-92 decision over No. 12 Washington on December 3, 2009.

The Raiders have won back-to-back games versus fellow Power 5 nonconference foes for second time in the last three seasons. Texas Tech also knocked off Mississippi State (74-72) and Minnesota (81-68) at the 2015 Puerto Rico Tipoff on consecutive days.

“I’m really happy for our players,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. “Tonight’s game was dedicated to my good friend Corky Oglesby. He’s one of the all-time Red Raider greats and one of the best human beings I have ever met. He was really a friend, not only to me but to all these players. We heard the news of Corky passing a few minutes before tipoff, and we really wanted to try to dedicate tonight’s performance to him. I was really proud of that. I hope Corky’s family got to watch it and understand how important he was not only to our team but to everybody in Lubbock.”

Keenan Evans was one of four seniors to reach double figures for the Red Raiders and did his damage early and often with 17 of his game-high 25 points coming in the opening 20 minutes. He was 9-of-13 shooting ignited by a quartet of three-pointers.

In the process, Evans became the 40th player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points and claimed all-tournament honors. The Richardson, Texas native also has reached double figures in 24 consecutive games, the longest run for a Red Raider since Ronald Ross tallied a 25-game run during the 2004-05 campaign.

Zach Smith joined Evans on the all-tournament team and delivered 11 points on a flawless 5-for-5 from the floor. He also garnered four rebounds, two steals, two assists and a block. The rejection allowed Smith to pull within 18 blocks of Tony Battie’s program record.

“Keenan is a good basketball player,” Beard said. “He lets the game come to him. He really works on his craft and has had a great offseason. I think he is ready for this challenge of a great senior season. He certainly carried us at points this weekend. I think he would be the first to tell you it’s about his teammates that are screening for him and passing the ball to him. It’s a team sport, and I’m really proud of those guys that enable Keenan to have a night like he’s had tonight.”

Niem Stevenson contributed 10 points, three rebounds and three assists followed by Chicago native Tommy Hamilton IV’s 10 points and four rebounds. The duo combined to hit on six of their 10 field goal attempts.

The Red Raiders received strong bench performances courtesy Jarrett Culver, Brandone Francis, Davide Moretti, Norense Odiase and Zhaire Smith. The quintet fueled Texas Tech to a healthy 25-14 advantage in bench points.

Odiase notched six points, five rebounds over his 18 minutes of action, while Smith came away with six points and four rebounds. Francis managed five points, five rebounds and three steals whereas Moretti garnered five points and two assists.

Texas Tech’s defensive intensity was on-point from the opening tipoff and bottled up the Wildcats (3-2) to a 12-for-45 shooting effort and a 6-for-23 clip from three-point territory. The Red Raiders have limited three of their first four opponents to 50 points or less.

The Red Raiders buried 29-of-48 from the field and connected on 17-of-21 at the free throw line. Texas Tech scorched the nets from triple territory and sank seven of its eight three-pointers in the second half. The Red Raiders have already canned 10-plus three’s in two of four games after reaching the feat four times all of last season.  

 

Texas Tech fired out of the gates to a 9-0 lead during the opening 2:02 off the clock. Evans began the onslaught on an administrative technical foul free throw that was assessed to Northwestern prior to tipoff. Hamilton IV put home a midrange jumper leading into back-to-back treys from Evans that were set up by a Zach Smith steal and a Zach Smith offensive rebound tap back. 

 

Ahead 29-19 at the 5:10 mark, the Red Raiders doubled the spread and ripped off 10 straight points over the next 2:49. High-low action between Odiase and Zach Smith resulted in a Smith two-handed slam. Evans tacked on three more buckets sandwiched around a Zhaire Smith dunk off an offensive rebound.

 

Texas Tech took a 41-25 lead into the locker room. The Red Raiders feasted off of 15 Northwestern turnovers en route to 26 of its 28 points off turnovers during the opening stanza. 

 

Texas Tech put the final clamps down on the Wildcats with a 20-point flurry that took the scoreboard from 59-42 to 79-42. The Red Raiders forced Northwestern into nine straight misses starting with 11:17 remaining until there was 4:31 to go. Offensively, the run was highlighted by a trio of Zach Smith baskets in addition to three-balls from Evans, Hamilton IV and Stevenson.  

“I think whenever you start getting into this category that we are in where we have to have a good season the guys have to understand that we have to validate our next win,” Beard said. “(Alabama football coach) Nick Saban has the 24-hour rule. As much as I respect Coach Saban, we have a 12-hour rule. We try to enjoy a win for 12-hours, and we try to learn from a loss for 12-hours. Then, we move on to the next game. It’s certainly going to be a great plane trip back to Lubbock. Tomorrow, we have to shift our attention to a really good Wofford team coming into town on Wednesday. We have to validate each win as we try to enter these waters and try to have a special season.”

Texas Tech returns home to face Wofford on Wednesday followed by Savannah State on Saturday as part of Thanksgiving Week. Wednesday’s contest tips at 5:30 p.m. CT and is the second game of a doubleheader with the Lady Raiders who face UMass-Lowell at 3 p.m. CT.

Wednesday’s matchup is televised by FOX Sports Southwest Plus and also will be available on the FOX Sports Go app from the United Supermarkets Arena. John Harris, Chris Level and Adam Doyle will serve as the announcing team.

The Texas Tech Sports Network will carry the game live on its flagship stations Double T 97.3 FM, 100.7 FM The Score and AM 950 in Lubbock. Geoff Haxton and Clark Lammert will have the call. The radio broadcast also will be available on the Texas Tech Sports Network radio affiliates, online at www.TexasTech.com and the Tune-In Radio app. Fans can interact live with Wednesday’s broadcast by following @GunsUpRadio on Twitter.

Tickets to either Wednesday’s or Saturday’s games can be purchased for as low as $10 online at www.TexasTech.com or in person at the United Supermarkets Arena Box Office which opens 90 minutes prior to tipoff.

Fans are reminded that the S1 Parking Lot at the John Walker Soccer Complex which is located at 3901 10th Street is the lone free parking lot for all fans which includes ADA parking for all men’s basketball games. A free shuttle service begins 75 minutes prior to tipoff and runs up to 60 minutes following the game to transport fans to and from the United Supermarkets Arena. Buses also are ADA accessible. There is no longer free parking available in the West Lot across from the United Supermarkets Arena.

Traffic patterns around the United Supermarkets Arena have changed for the 2017-18 season. All patrons with North Lot passes must enter their lot from the Main and Flint intersection. All fans with South Lot passes must enter their lot from the 18th and Flint intersection. All West Lot pass holders must enter their lot at the Texas Tech Parkway and Knoxville Avenue intersection. All vehicles will be blocked from entering Indiana Avenue off of the Texas Tech Parkway.

Fans are reminded to go clear at all Texas Tech basketball games. The clear bag policy provides a safer atmosphere and speeds up the entry process into the United Supermarkets Arena.

Season tickets are on-sale and features the affordable Red Raider Sports Pass at $99. Season tickets can be purchased in person at the Texas Tech Athletics Ticket Office located on the East Side of Jones AT&T Stadium, online at www.TexasTech.com or over the phone at (806) 742-8324 (TECH). Single-game tickets for nonconference games and Big 12 mini-plan ticket information also has been announced by the Texas Tech Athletics Ticket Office.

Visit www.TexasTech.com for the latest news and information on the men's basketball program. Fans also can follow the program on its social media outlets by liking TexasTechMBB on Facebook along with following @TexasTechMBB on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. 

 


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