LUBBOCK, Texas — Freshman guard Zhaire Smith scored a career-high 21 points, including a steal that led to his alley-oop slam, and No. 7 Texas Tech beat Iowa State 76-58 on Wednesday night for its fifth straight win.
After the Cyclones (12-11, 3-8 Big 12) scored seven straight points in a 77-second span to get within one after halftime, Smith made a steal. He passed the ball on the break to Jarrett Culver, who then lobbed an alley-oop pass that resulted in Smith’s two-handed slam.
Culver added 16 points for the Red Raiders (20-4, 8-3), whose last loss was 70-52 at Iowa State on Jan. 20. Keenan Evans scored 15.
Texas Tech is the first Big 12 team to reach 20 wins overall and is tied with No. 10 Kansas (19-5, 8-3) atop the conference standings.
Cameron Lard had a career-high 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting for already short-handed Iowa State. He played only 20 minutes before fouling out. Lindell Wigginton scored 13.
Iowa State: The Cyclones have been to a school-record six NCAA Tournaments in a row, but that streak could be in serious jeopardy. They have lost four of their last five games, and are in a stretch of three straight against ranked opponents.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are 15-0 at home this season and have won 16 in a row there since an 82-80 loss to Iowa State last February. They have already surpassed last season’s totals of 18 wins overall and six wins in the Big 12.
The Cyclones played their second game in a row without junior guard Nick Weiler-Babb, who has left knee tendinitis. He is the only player in the nation averaging at least 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game. Iowa State had only eight available players because senior forward Hans Brase was also out with a knee issue.
Iowa State also faces Top 25 opponents in its next two games, Saturday against No. 17 Oklahoma and next Tuesday night against No. 10 Kansas.
Texas Tech plays three of its next four on the road. The Red Raiders play Saturday night at Kansas State, a team they beat by 16 points at home on Jan. 6.