LUBBOCK, (AP) — Keenan Evans reiterated a message to his Texas Tech teammates after the senior struggled shooting the ball in a couple of big losses by the No. 14 Red Raiders.
“I was going to be that guy that set the tone, whether it was aggressive on offense, or aggressive on defense,” Evans said. “I was trying to be that guy that was kind of everywhere … just making tough plays and trying to get us going in any way possible.”
Evans scored 22 of his 26 points after halftime Tuesday night, and Texas Tech rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Oklahoma State 75-70 and avoid a third straight loss.
Evans hit a 3-pointer with 3:52 left that put the Red Raiders ahead to stay. That came only 40 seconds after his rebound and assist to Jarrett Culver, whose breakaway dunk gave Texas Tech (16-4, 5-3 Big 12) its first lead since the first half, and before a jumper by Lindy Waters put the Cowboys ahead one last time.
“He’s a terrific player. I’m not surprised that he played well at all. Good players go through things like that for a couple of games,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. “He’s not going to let that keep him down.”
Culver, the freshman guard playing in his hometown, finished with 25 points and four 3-pointers.
Jeffrey Carroll had 16 points for Oklahoma State (13-7, 3-5), which was coming off an overtime win three days earlier over then-No. 4 Oklahoma. And the Cowboys still had a 14-point lead with 15 minutes left.
Evans was a combined 5-of-20 shooting, 2-of-13 on 3-pointers, as Tech lost twice on the road last week. After making 1 of 4 shots before halftime against the Cowboys, he was 6 of 9 in the second half.
“Keenan didn’t play any different tonight than he has been. He’s a great shooter,” Tech coach Chris Beard said. “He’s remained aggressive.”
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have lost all four of their true road games, all in Big 12 play. At home, they have won their last three games in overtime or on the final shot in regulation.
Texas Tech: After a tough week on the road, the Red Raiders got a much-needed boost with an impressive comeback after halftime. They made only one of 12 field goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half, but made 15 of 28 after halftime, including 6 of 9 3-pointers.
TAKING A PUNCH
“Every game, you’re going to get punched, the other team is going to go on runs, and you’ve got to respond,” Beard said. “Tonight, above all, what I’m most proud of is just the grit, the composure. I didn’t think there was much panic out there, even when we were trying so hard to play well and we just weren’t.”
Even though the Red Raiders are out of the Top 10 for the first time in three weeks, they are still among the nation’s top 15 teams for three straight weeks for the first time since 1995-96.
BEFORE THE BREAK
Carroll had a go-ahead bank shot with 5:50 left in the first half that started a half-ending 18-5 run that put Oklahoma State up 37-25. Carroll had a 3-pointer 36 seconds after that as part of eight straight points for the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State plays at Arkansas on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Texas Tech also steps out of conference play for one of the early games Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, at South Carolina, a Final Four team last season.
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