LUBBOCK, Texas — Keenan Evans scored 18 points, freshman Zhaire Smith added 15 in his Big 12 debut and No. 22 Texas Tech rolled past 18th-ranked Baylor 77-53 in the conference opener for both teams Friday night.
Jarrett Culver finished with 13 points and Niem Stevenson had 11 points and a game-high five assists for the Red Raiders (12-1, 1-0 Big 12) in the first meeting out of 135 with both of these longtime conference rivals ranked.
Mark Vital scored 12 points for the Bears (10-3, 0-1), who were missing Big 12 rebounding leader Jo Lual-Acuil because of a left foot sprain. Baylor was outrebounded 39-21, including 22-8 in the first half while falling behind 40-19.
Culver hit a jumper to start a 14-0 first-half run for a 29-9 lead as the Red Raiders beat a ranked team while in the poll themselves for the first time since 2005. Bob Knight was the coach when 24th-ranked Texas Tech beat No. 11 Gonzaga 71-69 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
It was the third win against a ranked team this season for Texas Tech, which matched Oklahoma for the most wins for a Big 12 team over ranked opponents in nonconference.
The Red Raiders, second nationally in points allowed and opposing shooting percentage, held Baylor to a season low in points. The Bears shot 30 percent in the first half and 37 percent for the game.
Baylor: Even though all three of Baylor’s losses are against ranked teams — the first two were current top 10 teams in Xavier and Wichita State — the Bears are banged up and not playing well. They’ll need Lual-Acuil back quickly, as their rebounding deficit showed, and they’ll need more from top reserve Terry Maston, who missed all four shots and went scoreless after missing six games with a broken shooting hand.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are one of just two teams to start five seniors, and they have a young budding star in Zhaire Smith. It was hard to tell whether the depth coach Chris Beard used against a relatively soft nonconference schedule would translate to the rugged Big 12. The first test looked good for Texas Tech.
Baylor: Home against No. 10 TCU on Tuesday.
Texas Tech: At No. 11 Kansas on Tuesday.