LUBBOCK, Texas – A valiant second-half effort by Kansas State wasn’t enough to overcome a complete all-around first-half effort by No. 18/18 Texas Tech, as the Red Raiders moved to 3-0 in Big 12 play with a 74-58 win on Saturday afternoon before 12,531 fans at United Supermarkets Arena.
Texas Tech (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) led by as many as 21 points in the first half on nearly 70 percent shooting from the field and never trailed in winning for the fourth consecutive time in the series at home. Senior guard Keenan Evans poured in a game-high 27 points, including 13-of-14 from the free throw line, as nine different Red Raiders registered field goals en route to connecting on 58.5 percent (24-of-41) from the field.
Facing its largest halftime deficit since February 2015, K-State (11-4, 1-2 Big 12) opened the half on a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to 42-35 on a 3-point play by junior Barry Brown, Jr., with 14:31 to play. However, Texas Tech responded with an 11-2 run midway through the half to push it back to 17 points in an eventual 74-58 victory.
Brown led the Wildcats with 24 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while fellow junior Dean Wade added 14.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After a slow start by both teams, Texas Tech jumped out to a 6-0 lead before Kamau Stokes connected on K-State’s first basket at the 15:39 mark after five straight misses to start the half. The Red Raiders responded to the bucket with nine consecutive points, which was ignited by a 3-pointer from Brandone Francis at the top of the key, to force a timeout with 12:56 before half and the Wildcats trailing 15-2.
Texas Tech continued to roll midway through the first half, as freshman Davide Moretti knocked down the team’s third 3-pointer to extend the lead to 20-4. A 3-pointer from the corner by redshirt freshman Cartier Diarra cut the deficit to 24-9 with 7:10 to play, however, the Red Raiders used an 8-2 run to push the lead back out to 32-11.
K-State finished the half by scoring 11 of the last 19 points, as Texas Tech led 40-22 at the break behind 69.6 percent (16-of-23) shooting. The 18-point halftime deficit was the largest since trailing by 20 at TCU in 2015. Senior Keenan Evans led a balanced scoring effort with 11 points, as nine different Red Raiders recorded a field goal.
Playing without Stokes, who was injured first half, the Wildcats used a 12-2 run to start the second half to cut the deficit to 42-35 on a 3-point by junior Barry Brown, Jr., with 14:31 to play. A 3-pointer by Moretti stopped the run and helped push the Red Raider advantage back out to 10 at 45-35 with 13:30 remaining.
After a bucket by junior Dean Wade and a free throw by Diarra slashed it to 48-40 at the 11:43 mark, the experienced Texas Tech squad used an 11-2 run to push its advantage back out to 59-42 with just under 10 minutes remaining. During the 11-2 run, the Red Raiders scored six points off three steals coupled with a 3-pointer from freshman Zhaire Smith. The Wildcats could get no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Barry Brown, Jr. – The junior collected his team-leading fifth 20-point game of the season, as he scored 24 points on 6-of-11 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and 10-of-13 from the line. It marked his team-leading 12th game scoring in double figures and the 46th of his career. He now has nine career 20-point games.