March 24, 2018 / 5:02 AM / 5 months ago

Red Raiders race past Purdue, reach first Elite Eight

EditorsNote: adds “NCAA Tournament’s” in lede

Keenan Evans led a balanced attack with 16 points as third-seeded Texas Tech topped second-seeded Purdue 78-65 Friday night at Boston in the NCAA Tournament’s East Region semifinals.

Texas Tech (27-9) will now face top-seeded Villanova (33-4) on Sunday in the regional final.

The Red Raiders shot 51.6 percent in the second half to reach the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. Texas Tech’s bench held a 33-6 scoring edge over the Boilermakers’ reserves. Zach Smith had 14 points, Zhaire Smith 13 points and Justin Gray 12 points for the Red Raiders.

Sophomore guard Carsen Edwards led the Boilermakers (30-7) with 30 points. Vincent Edwards added 12 points for Purdue, and P.J. Thompson had 10. Purdue’s Dakota Mathias, who was averaging more than 12 points a game, scored just three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

Purdue, which shot 44.8 percent for the game, was hurt by 17 turnovers, six more than Texas Tech’s total. The Red Raiders hit 17 of 18 free throws and made 47.5 percent of their field-goal attempts.

The Boilermakers played without senior center Isaac Haas, who fractured his right elbow in the NCAA Tournament opener against Cal State Fullerton. Haas was fitted with a brace that the NCAA officials approved, but Purdue coach Matt Painter determined he wasn’t ready to play.

Leading 41-39, the Red Raiders used a 9-2 run to make it a nine-point game. Purdue was able to narrow the deficit to 58-55. The Red Raiders pulled away with a crushing 11-0 run to take a 69-55 lead.

Texas Tech finished the first half with 10 unanswered points to take a 30-25 lead into the break. Texas Tech shot 42.9 percent compared to 45.8 percent for Purdue in the opening half. Purdue committed 10 turnovers in the first half, four more than Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders hit all four free throws in the first half while the Boilermakers didn’t get to the foul line.

The Boilermakers took a 15-8 lead before the Red Raiders answered with a 7-0 run. The score remained 15-all for several minutes. The Boilermakers went nearly eight minutes without scoring before Thompson sank a 3-pointer to give Purdue an 18-15 lead. Carsen Edwards followed with a basket to increase the lead to 20-15.

After Purdue was on top 25-20, Texas Tech went on a 10-0 run to provide the halftime margin.

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