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Josh Jackson’s monster game leads No. 3 Kansas past Texas Tech

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Freshman Josh Jackson took over after senior Frank Mason fouled out as No. 3 Kansas held off Texas Tech, 80-79, for a Big 12 road win.

Jackson took an isolation and was fouled with 2.8 seconds left, making the game-winning free throw and finishing with a career-high 31 points. The freshman also added 12 rebounds and four assists, going 12-for-15 from the field.

Jackson took over the game down the stretch and willed Kansas to a road win when Mason only played 26 minutes and was held to 12 points. It was the type of performance that could be talked about on draft night because Jackson put together one of the most complete efforts we’re going to see all season. He looked completely in rhythm offensively and didn’t force anything as he was ruthlessly efficient and calm throughout a tense game.

Even after Mason fouled out, Jackson took over and scored multiple buckets and that has to give head coach Bill Self a lot of confidence this late in the season. It means that Kansas doesn’t need to rely solely on Mason to help win close games and it appears Jackson could be turning a corner heading into a monster final stretch.

This type of game is the reason many ranked Jackson near No. 1 in this loaded Class of 2016. He was that good on Saturday.

Landen Lucas also added 13 points and four rebounds for the Jayhawks while LaGerald Vick gave some solid minutes of the bench to finish with nine points. Vick played more crunch-time minutes as a defensive presence and he could also be counted on more down the stretch in close games if he plays like this.

The win also keeps Kansas (22-3, 10-2) in first place in the Big 12 standings after Baylor won earlier in the day over TCU.

Texas Tech (16-9, 4-8) went with the Iowa State approach of having three players have big games but the ultimately fell short against the Jayhawks. Keenan Evans (25 points), Niem Stevenson (22 points) and Zach Smith (21 points) all had solid outings for the Red Raiders but the rest of the roster only contributed 11 points. You do get the feeling, however, that Kansas might have been in trouble if this game went to overtime but Texas Tech never got that chance.

This was a crucial opportunity for Texas Tech to land a signature win over a top-five opponent but they fell short. Head coach Chris Beard will have to get his team together for another win that could put them in the tournament. The Red Raiders certainly looked like a NCAA tournament team and that was including off-nights from much of the roster besides the three 20-point scorers.

Texas Tech has back-to-back games against Baylor and West Virginia after this, so they’ll get more shots to win big games to help their postseason status.

Motley leads No. 5 Baylor again in 65-61 win over Texas Tech

WACO, TX - JANUARY 17:  Head coach Scott Drew of the Baylor Bears in the first half at Ferrell Center on January 17, 2017 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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WACO, Texas (AP) Johnathan Motley scored 25 points and No. 5 Baylor held on to beat Texas Tech 65-61 on Wednesday night for the Bears’ 13th straight home victory.

A week after getting a career-high 32 points against Texas, Motley was 15 of 16 on free throws as the Bears (19-1, 7-1 Big 12) pulled even with second-ranked Kansas atop the Big 12 standings with a 26-9 advantage at the free throw line. Baylor attempted 28 free throws to 10 for the Red Raiders.

A night after three of the top four teams in the Top 25 lost, the Bears won their fourth straight since their only loss right after reaching No. 1 for the first time in school history.

Justin Gray scored 12 points for the Red Raiders (14-6, 3-5), who dropped to 2-2 against ranked teams in Big 12 play. It was their second straight loss after a 17-game home winning streak ended with Oklahoma State’s first conference win following six losses.

The Red Raiders had a chance to tie or go ahead trailing 63-61 in the final seconds, but Ishmail Wainright blocked a deep 3-point try by Keenan Evans. The Bears started celebrating a win, but the whistle blew with 0.5 seconds left.

After a discussion, officials ruled a jump ball on an inadvertent whistle, awarding Baylor possession. Niem Stephenson fouled Baylor’s Al Freeman before the ball was thrown in, and Freeman made both free throws to clinch the win.

Motley was 5 of 12 from the field to help Baylor overcome season lows of 17 field goals and 35 percent shooting. The 6-foot-10 forward also had a big block on Evans with Texas Tech trailing 56-54 with 2:52 remaining. Manu Lecomte hit a 3-pointer at the other end.

The Bears shot 16 free throws in the first half before the Red Raiders attempted their first, but Texas Tech trailed by just one by limiting Baylor to just seven field goals and 32 percent shooting before halftime.

The Red Raiders recovered from a 12-2 deficit to take their first lead on their first free throws, two from Aaron Ross for a 29-28 edge with 1:24 remaining in the first half.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders bounced back from their worst game by showing that their two wins in three games against ranked teams in Big 12 play weren’t a fluke. They’re unlikely to be an easy win in conference.

Baylor: After getting blown out at West Virginia immediately after surging to the top of the AP poll, the Bears have shown some staying power by getting another winning streak going.

UP NEXT

Texas Tech: After hosting LSU in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday, the Red Raiders visit Texas next Wednesday.

Baylor: After a Big 12/SEC trip to Mississippi, the Bears play at Kansas for the Big 12 lead next Wednesday.

Corrects previous version with Baylor awarded possession instead of jump ball at midcourt.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Memphis to hire Texas Tech’s Tubby Smith

Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith watches during practice for a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Texas Tech pays Butler on Thursday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Just about a week after Josh Pastner made the decision to move from Memphis to Georgia Tech to take its head coaching position, Memphis has found the next leader of its program.

As first reported by CBSSports.com, Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith has agreed to become the next head coach at Memphis.

Smith’s move comes after three years in Lubbock, with the Red Raiders reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007 this past season. Smith has led five programs to the NCAA tournament as a head coach, and in 1998 won a national title at Kentucky.

He arrives in Memphis with some talent to work with, led by the American Athletic Conference’s top freshman in forward Dedric Lawson. Lawson’s brother K.J., who missed most of this season due to injury, will be back in the fold as well. But there are some holes to fill on the roster, most notably in the backcourt as four seniors have moved on and Avery Woodson decided to transfer. The first open evaluation period of the spring begins Friday, so getting this move done before then was important for Memphis from a recruiting standpoint.

Under Pastner Memphis reached the NCAA tournament four times, with the most recent trip coming in 2014. But they won just two games in those four trips, failing to get out of the first weekend. That’s the task for Smith, who moves to a league that while solid at the top does not have the depth that the Big 12 boasted. That should make the process of contending for (and winning) conference titles more manageable that it would have been had he remained in Lubbock.

No. 10 West Virginia routs Texas Tech on senior night

West Virginia forward Jonathan Holton (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) Jaysean Paige was introduced on Senior Night at West Virginia as the “country’s best sixth man.” He certainly may be the Mountaineers’ best man in some time.

Paige and Daxter Miles Jr. each scored 15 points and No. 10 West Virginia closed out its home regular season on senior night Wednesday by trouncing Texas Tech 90-68.

Paige was honored pregame with fellow seniors Jonathan Holton and Richard Romeo III. He connected on 7 of 15 field goals, grabbed five rebounds and had five assists.

A sixth man, Paige was averaging a team-leading 14.3 points per game heading into this Big 12 conference game. No reserve has ever led the Mountaineers in scoring.

“It felt great,” Paige said of the introduction. “All the work I put in and it’s paying off. Just to be acknowledged for something like that in a conference like this means a lot. It builds you up, but you still got a lot to go. I’m just happy where I am and there’s still room to get better.”

Miles broke a slump which had seen him score just a total of 14 points in his last four games. He missed two games with a bad hamstring during the slump. Holton grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

“I’ve just been hitting the gym. I’ve been working on my shot with Coach (Bob) Huggins,” said Miles.

The victory for the Mountaineers (23-7, 12-5) keeps them in sole possession of second place in the Big 12 with a game to go at No. 19 Baylor Saturday. No. 6 Oklahoma swept WVU this year and owns a tiebreaker if needed. The Sooners are 11-6 in the league and will visit TCU to close the season.

Justin Gray’s 15 points and Aaron Ross’ 14 led the Red Raiders (18-11, 8-9).

“I thought we were just manhandled tonight,” said Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith. “I thought our kids shot the ball OK, did some things well. We just couldn’t defend the post like we wanted to.”

WVU’s six conference wins represent its most ever in the Big 12, which it joined in 2012. Tech’s eight league wins are its most since 2006-07. Its 18 overall wins are the most since 2010.

The Mountaineers scored 12 straight points and led 36-22 with 2:41 to go in the first half. They finished the half ahead 41-26.

Tech shot 55 percent from the field, but WVU forced nine turnovers and outrebounded the visitors by 14. The Mountaineers were 12-0 on the offensive board.

West Virginia’s biggest lead came with 4:52 to go at 82-55.

Texas Tech made only three baskets during nearly seven minutes of the second half.

The Mountaineers enjoyed a 34-7 advantage in points off 19 Red Raider turnovers.

“I thought we were a lot more active,” Huggins said. “We try to speed people up to make them play a little faster than they want to play. … The pressure forces you to play faster than you want, or if you really slow it down, I think it’s to our advantage because you don’t have nearly as much time,” said Huggins.

TIP-INS

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins picked up his 788th career win in 34 years. He trailed Coastal Carolina’s Cliff Ellis by one game for ninth place all-time coming into the Texas Tech game. Meanwhile, Texas Tech veteran coach Tubby Smith is 556-274 in 25 years.

UP NEXT

West Virginia visits Baylor Saturday in its regular-season finale.

Texas Tech closes out the season with its own senior day Saturday against Kansas State.

Texas Tech pulls off another upset, beating No. 3 Oklahoma

Texas Tech's Toddrick Gotcher tries to pass the ball around Oklahoma's Buddy Hield during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)
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After picking up wins over two ranked teams in Iowa State and Baylor, Texas Tech entered Wednesday’s game against No. 3 Oklahoma in search of another quality win for its résumé. Sure enough Tubby Smith’s Red Raiders pulled it off, beating the Sooners 65-63 despite Oklahoma having two shots at the game-tying basket in the final seconds. Aaron Ross scored 17 points and Keenan Evans 14 for Texas Tech, but the key for them was what they were able to do defensively.

Oklahoma was unable to get out in transition for much of the night, and in the half-court they struggled to find the clean looks they’ve taken advantage of for most of this season. The Sooners shot 38.2 percent from the field and 6-for-23 from three, and Buddy Hield struggled as well.

Hield scored ten points in the first five minutes of the game. From that point on he managed to score just six, with the Red Raiders pestering him all night long. The national Player of the Year candidate began to press some as a result, leading to his turning the ball over five times. Add in Isaiah Cousins scoring ten points on 3-for-9 shooting and Ryan Spangler going for just five on 2-for-7 from the field, and Oklahoma didn’t have the offensive production it needed to win outside of Jordan Woodard’s 25-point effort.

Within a week’s time Texas Tech has gone from being a team well out of the NCAA tournament picture to one that has three quality wins many other bubble teams can’t match. Even with Toddrick Gotcher (who may have traveled in the final seconds) and Devaughntah Williams struggling offensively, Texas Tech went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma thanks to the contributions of others. Evans has been a much-improved player over the last four games, and forward Zach Smith added ten points and nine rebounds as he and Ross outplayed the Oklahoma front court.

As a result Texas Tech is beginning to add wins that will enhance a résumé that already looks good from a computer standpoint. The finish to the season won’t be easy, as the Red Raiders still have games on the road against No. 2 Kansas and No. 10 West Virginia to navigate.

That certainly looks daunting, but so did the three-game stretch Texas Tech just took on. And with the confidence that Tubby Smith’s team is playing with, anything is possible for the Red Raiders.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 20 Duke wins at UNC, No. 3 Oklahoma falls

Duke's Luke Kennard, left, and Grayson Allen, right, hug an injured Matt Jones following an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. Duke won 74-73. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 20 Duke 74, No. 5 North Carolina 73

Duke, already shorthanded, lost Matt Jones in the first half to a left ankle injury and they couldn’t slow down Brice Johnson either. But they continued to fight, ultimately winning on two Grayson Allen free throws with 1:09 remaining. To say the least North Carolina’s execution down the stretch left much to be desired, as Johnson’s last shot attempt came with just under five minutes left in the game. He finished with 29 points and 19 rebounds, while Allen led Duke with 23 points and seven boards and Brandon Ingram added 20 and ten.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Penn State 79, No. 4 Iowa 75: Within a two-week period the Nittany Lions have knocked off two of the three teams tied atop the Big Ten standings in the loss column (No. 22 Indiana being the other). Donovon Jack scored 19 points and Brandon Taylor and Shep Garner 18 each for the Nittany Lions, who won despite Peter Jok scoring 28 points and Jarrod Uthoff 19.

Saint Joseph’s 79, No. 15 Dayton 70: Phil Martelli’s Hawks picked up a big win, as they ended Dayton’s nine-game win streak to force a three-way tie atop the Atlantic 10. DeAndré Bembry led five Hawks in double figures with 16 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds, and it was the combination of their offensive balance and solid defense that won the game for Saint Joseph’s.

BUBBLE BANTER: Wednesday’s key results

Texas Tech 65, No. 3 Oklahoma 63: The Red Raiders picked up their third straight win over a ranked opponent, holding off the Sooners in Lubbock. Aaron Ross scored 17 points and Keenan Evans 14 for the Red Raiders, who limited Buddy Hield to 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting. Jordan Woodard led Oklahoma with 25 points, but with everyone else struggling it wasn’t enough.

No. 8 Xavier 85, No. 23 Providence 74: The Friars lost for the fourth time in their last five games Wednesday, falling by nine in a game that wasn’t as close as the final margin would lead one to believe. Myles Davis posted his first career triple-double (11 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists), Trevon Bluiett scored 23 points and Jalen Reynolds went for ten and 15 boards. Kris Dunn led the Friars with 23 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, but he also turned the ball over seven times on the night.

STARRED

Retin Obasohan, Alabama: 35 points, four rebounds and three assists in the Crimson Tide’s win at LSU, shooting 11-for-18 from the field and 11-for-11 from the foul line.

Myles Davis, Xavier: Davis posted a triple-double, going for 11 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the Musketeers to a comfortable win over No. 23 Providence.

Brice Johnson, North Carolina: Johnson finished with 29 points and 19 rebounds. Why he didn’t get more touches down the stretch in their loss to No. 20 Duke is something that will be discussed for quite some time.

STRUGGLED

Eli Carter, Boston College: Carter had a miserable night at Clemson, shooting 1-for-17 from the field in the 64-55 loss. He finished with five points and six assists.

Marcus Paige and Joel Berry II, North Carolina: Paige and Berry combined to shoot 4-for-22 from the field in their loss to No. 20 Duke.

Starters not named Khristian Smith, Indiana State: Smith shot 5-for-12 from the field and scored 14 points in the Sycamores’ 78-50 loss at Illinois State. The other four starters combined to score ten points on 3-for-25 shooting.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Top-ranked Villanova won for the 15th time in their last 16 games, as they beat Temple 83-67 at the Liacouras Center. Jalen Brunson, whose father played at Temple, scored 25 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the field as the Wildcats won the Big 5 title outright.
  • No. 11 Miami got going in the second half as they beat Virginia Tech 65-49. Jim Larrañaga’s Hurricanes outscored the Hokies 44-27 in the second half.
  • No. 12 Arizona steamrolled rival Arizona State, beating the Sun Devils 99-61 in Tucson. Allonzo Trier scored 20 points, and the Wildcats scored 52 points in the paint.
  • No. 18 Louisville rebounded from a slow start and blitzed Syracuse in the second half, beating the Orange 72-58. Damion Lee scored 15 points and Chinanu Onuaku added 13 points and 15 boards for the Cardinals.
  • No. 22 Indiana rebounded from its loss at Michigan State by taking care of business at home, beating Nebraska 80-64. Troy Williams led four Hoosiers in double figures with 18 points on the night.

OTHER NOTABLE OUTCOMES

  • Clemson, which is looking to play its way back into the NCAA tournament discussion, avoided a bad loss by beating Boston College 64-55.
  • St. Bonaventure’s hopes of getting into the bubble conversation took a major hit, as they lost 71-64 at La Salle. The Bonnies are now two games out of first in the Atlantic 10 as a result of this loss.
  • Stony Brook’s 18-game win streak came to an end as they were beaten soundly at Albany, 82-70. The Great Danes sent double teams at Jameel Warney all night long, which helped them limit the Seawolves to less than 40 percent shooting.
  • Bucknell retained sole possession of first place in the Patriot League with an 87-52 win over Loyola (MD). Trailing the Bison by a game are Lehigh, which beat Navy 77-74 on the road, and Boston University (71-68 win over Colgate).
  • Seton Hall continued its run towards an NCAA tournament bid with a 72-64 win over Georgetown. Isaiah Whitehead scored 22 points, Khadeen Carrington 18 and Desi Rodriguez 17 for the Pirates.
  • Alabama picked up a nice win on the road, as they beat LSU 76-69. Retin Obasohan, who’s been one of the best guards in the SEC this season, scored a career-high 35 in the win.
  • Chris Mullin picked up his first conference win as head coach at St. John’s, as the Red Storm beat DePaul 80-65. The Red Storm had lost 16 straight games before tonight.
  • Trailing by 15 with 6:01 remaining, New Mexico close the game on a 19-2 run as they beat Boise State 80-78. Elijah Brown scored 26 points and Tim Williams 18 for the Lobos, who are now in sole possession of second place in the Mountain West.
  • USC came back from a 15-point deficit to beat Colorado 79-72, moving to 15-0 at the Galen Center this season. Julian Jacobs, who sparked the run, scored 17 points and Jordan McLaughlin finished with 25 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals.