Now in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 and riding a six-game winning streak after a 66-47 win at Kansas State, the Red Raiders (21-4) were a No. 3 seed in the East Region as the committee gave a sneak preview of its top 16 teams, one month away from Selection Sunday.
In the second half, Tech came out on fire, as Evans led Tech on a 15-1 run to start the half, which would establish a Red Raider lead that they would not surrender.
K-State (13-12, 5-9 Big 12) was forced into a season-high 25 turnovers in the lopsided loss.
"Defensively we dialed in".
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Johnston and Daoust each notched their second of the night in the third while Ann-Renee Desbiens completed the shutout. Russian defender Yekaterina Lobova was penalized for an illegal hit, and Canada capitalized on the man advantage.
In the last three minutes of play, Texas Tech would draw the score even at 27-27 to go into the break tied. Kansas State made the Longhorns pay, shooting 3-of-4 from deep as Texas ended the first quarter with a hard-earned 23-21 lead. But The Red Raiders turned up the defense allowing Kansas State to score just 36 points the rest of the game.
"We got a little undisciplined", Texas head coach Karen Aston said. The versatile 6-foot-10 big man came into the game averaging 16.7 points per game and 18.2 points in his past four games. During that span, Texas Tech shot 0-for-6 from the field as K-State gained an 19-13 advantage with 9:44 remaining in the first half.
Percentages: FG.289, FT.720. Three-Point Goals: 3-17, .176 (Sneed 2-4, Wainright 1-1, Mawien 0-1, Patrick 0-1, Stokes 0-1, Brown 0-3, Diarra 0-3, Wade 0-3).
And it was in the second half that the Red Raiders took control of the game.
Much like the Wildcats' run to open the game, the Red Raiders matched with a 7-0 run to open the second half to claim a 34-27 lead.
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The second adjustment came after the Longhorns (20-4, 11-2 Big 12) implemented a full-court press midway through the first - the same press that forced Kansas State into 19 turnovers when the two teams previously faced off on January 7. In the process, Tech continued its recent trend of defending the three-point shot to near perfection. Senior forward Tommy Hamilton IV had 14 points in the game, with 12 of those coming from the perimeter, while Smith scored 11 points and Culver had 10 points. The senior transfer from De Paul was a ideal 4-4 from long range as he put up a season-high 14 points off the bench.
On a night when Big 12 contenders Kansas, West Virginia and Oklahoma all lost, the Red Raiders could have relaxed knowing that their seat atop the Big 12 would be secure for another game.
"I think I can contribute in whatever way my team needs", Holmes said.
Instead, the Red Raiders were focused, disciplined and physical as they won their third-consecutive road game and took a huge step towards a conference crown.
Want to see the Texas Tech/Kansas game in person? They are undefeated against the league's bottom six teams, going 1-0 against Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas.
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Texas Tech is now 21-4 on the season, 9-3 and in first place in the Big 12.