National Basketball Association
Texas Tech 70, Stephen F. Austin 60
When: 7:27 PM ET, Thursday, March 15, 2018
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
# Tony Padilla, # Gene Steratore, # DG Nelson
Senior guard Keenan Evans scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half to help Texas Tech escape with a 70-60 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament East Regional in Dallas.
Freshman guard Zhaire Smith recorded 10 points and eight rebounds as the third-seeded Red Raiders (25-9) closed with a 15-3 run. Evans made all 10 of his free-throw attempts and also contributed six rebounds and five assists.
Senior guard Ivan Canete scored 17 points and junior guard Shannon Bogues added 14 for the 14th-seeded Lumberjacks (28-7). Sophomore guard Kevon Harris had 12 points and junior forward TJ Holyfield added 10.
Texas Tech will face Florida in Saturday's second round.
The Red Raiders held a 41-31 rebounding advantage, but the biggest factor was the play of Evans, who took over in the second half.
"I owed it to my teammates and I owed it to myself," Evans said in a postgame interview on truTV. "Told you yesterday I'm going to take out anybody in my way, and I knew I had to do that for my team to win."
Stephen F. Austin finished the first half with a flourish and received 3-pointers from Canete, Holyfield and senior guard Ty Charles in the first 2:12 of the second half to take a 39-31 lead.
The Lumberjacks led 51-44 after a jumper by Harris with 10:24 to play before Texas Tech scored six straight to move within one. The Red Raiders finally tied the game 53 when senior forward Zach Smith split two free throws with 7:39 left.
Texas Tech took its first lead of the second half on Evans' layup with 3:52 left and Zhaire Smith delivered a dunk 39 seconds later to make it 61-58. Junior guard Brandone Francis buried a 3-pointer from the right corner to increase Texas Tech's to six with 2:30 remaining.
Evans later scored four straight points to push the lead 68-60 with 43.2 seconds left and senior guard Niem Stevenson completed the scoring with two free throws.
The Lumberjacks led most of the first half and took a 30-27 lead into the break when Harris drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
The Red Raiders used a 9-2 surge to take their first lead of the contest at 16-15. The spurt was capped by a tremendous play in which Evans spied Zhaire Smith from about 25 feet away and sent a lob toward the rim, with Smith making the catch in mid-air, rotating his body and slamming a ferocious dunk.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
|Stephen F. Austin
Ivan Canete 17
Keenan Evans 23
Ty Charles 3
Keenan Evans 5
Kevon Harris 8
Zhaire Smith 8
Ivan Canete 6
||Free Throws Made
Keenan Evans 10
Ivan Canete 4
Justin Gray 2
Leon Gilmore III 2
Zach Smith 3
Team Stats Summary
|Stephen F. Austin