LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Texas Tech coach Chris Beard didn’t expect his team to walk out of Allen Fieldhouse with a victory Tuesday night, especially considering the Red Raiders had never done so in school history.
“What I did expect,” Beard said, “was to play hard and play well.”
Turns out that was a winning formula after all.
Keenan Evans scored 15 points, Norense Odiase and Justin Gray had 12 apiece, and the No. 18 Red Raiders never trailed in beating the No. 10 Jayhawks 85-73 for their first win at the Phog in 18 tries.
“It’s special because of how much respect we have for this program,” Beard said. “This is sacred ground in college basketball, so to come in and win means a lot to our program.”
The Red Raiders (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) built a 16-point lead midway through the first half, then found an answer every time the 3-point-dependent Jayhawks (11-3, 1-1) tried to mount a second-half charge.
Zach Smith had 11 points and Jarrett Culver contributed 10 for Texas Tech, which has won its first two Big 12 games for the first time in a decade. The Red Raiders also snapped a four-game skid in league road openers by winning their seventh straight game in the toughest of venues.
“We worked too hard to not walk in here expecting this,” Allen said.
Devonte Graham led the Jayhawks with 27 points, but a lot of that came at the foul line, where he was 13 of 13. The senior guard struggled from the field, just like the rest of his team — they were 6 of 26 from beyond the arc and missed all 12 of their 3-point attempts in the second half.
Svi Mykhailiuk had 11 points for Kansas before fouling out. Udoka Azubuike also scored 11.
“We just came out flat,” Graham said. “They did a good job of coming out and hitting shots, getting stops early. Offensively they were just knocking everything down.”
The loss snapped the Jayhawks’ 16-game win streak against Texas Tech, and gave coach Bill Self’s team two losses in the Phog in the same season for the first time since 2006-07.
Everything went Texas Tech’s way in the first half — every loose ball, rebound and extra possession — and Beard’s team began to grow in confidence with each passing minute.
Two sequences in particular summed up the first 20 minutes.
The first came when the Red Raiders scored a bucket inside, stole Mykhailiuk’s inbounds pass and buried a 3-pointer for a five-point jolt that silenced the sellout crowd in a matter of seconds. The second came when Zhaire Smith scored with 13 seconds left before the break, and the Jayhawks flubbed the inbounds, forcing them to rush a shot at the other end before the buzzer sounded.
The Red Raiders kept answering Kansas throughout the second half, even when Self reluctantly turned to a zone. They merely dumped it inside to Odiase and Tommy Hamilton IV for easy baskets.
The Jayhawks trimmed the lead to 67-61 with about 5 minutes left, but Malik Newman missed an ill-advised 3-pointer and Azubuike turned the ball over to squander a chance to get closer.
The teams began trading free throws down the stretch as the Red Raiders held on to win.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Arizona State and Kentucky,” Self said, “but that could be the best team we’ve played this season.”
STATS AND STREAKS
The Red Raiders had a 44-29 advantage on the boards, including 18 offensive rebounds. … Texas Tech outscored the Jayhawks 26-8 in turnovers and 15-4 in second-chance points. … The Red Raiders came in averaging 39 points off the bench. They had 42 against Kansas. … Kansas G Lagerald Vick was 1 for 9 from the field and 0 for 6 from beyond the arc. He finished with two points.
“I don’t know if we have an edge on Kansas in anything. We have Whataburger in Texas. I don’t think y’all do. That’s an advantage.” — Beard, referring to the popular fast-food restaurant chain.
Texas Tech has staked a claim through two games for Big 12 superiority. The Red Raiders beat then-No. 18 Baylor 77-53 in their league opener last Friday, giving them a pair of wins over top teams.
Kansas fell in love with the 3-pointer again with ugly results. The Jayhawks’ lack of interior depth gives them little to fall back on when the jumpers start bouncing off the iron.
Texas Tech faces Kansas State on Saturday.
Kansas visits No. 16 TCU on Saturday night.
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