COLUMBIA, S.C. — Keenan Evans scored 31 points including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:12 left to lift No. 14 Texas Tech to a 70-63 victory over South Carolina on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
The Gamecocks (13-8) were looking to rally past their third ranked opponent in four games and were up 58-53 on Felipe Haase’s 3 with 6:21 to go. That’s when Evans scored eight of the Red Raiders’ next nine points, including the 3 from the left arc, for a 62-61 lead.
Evans followed that with a 3-point play with 46 seconds left to secure the win in the teams’ first meeting since December 1976.
Texas Tech (17-4) outscored South Carolina 17-5 over the final six minutes.
Evans, a 6-foot-2 senior, had four 3-pointers and made all 13 of his foul shots to lead the Red Raiders. Zhaire Smith had 11 points, the only other Texas Tech player in double figures.
The Gamecocks appeared to be on the verge of rallying against another Top 25 opponent. They came from 14 points down to top then 18th-ranked Kentucky 76-68 on Jan. 16, then were 11 points down at No. 20 Florida before their 77-72 win Wednesday night.
This time, though, South Carolina’s rally came up short, as it missed six of its final seven field-goal tries.
Chris Silva led the Gamecocks with 16 points before fouling out in the final minute.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders went into a massive shooting funk with about five minutes left in the opening half. They went 6 for 20 during a 20-minute stretch that saw them squander an eight-point lead and trail 58-53 with 6:20 left. Texas Tech came in sixth in Big 12 Conference shooting at 47.1 percent a game.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks have had a knack for coming out on top in ugly games. But aggressive play cost South Carolina in this one. Frank Booker was called for an intentional foul with the Gamecocks holding a lead, and two starters, forward Silva and point guard Wesley Myers, fouled out. Texas Tech made 23 of its 28 foul shots.
Texas Tech goes home to play Texas on Wednesday night.
South Carolina finishes a two-game homestand against Mississippi State on Wednesday night.