Arkansas to open against Louisville in Maui Invitational

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Arkansas will face Louisville in the opening round of a loaded 2022 Maui Invitational bracket.

The eight-team bracket announced for the November event will include six teams that went to the 2022 NCAA Tournament, including three that reached the Sweet 16.

Arizona faces Cincinnati in the opening round after reaching the Sweet 16 in coach Tommy Lloyd’s first season. Texas Tech, another Sweet 16 team last season, plays Creighton and San Diego State faces Ohio State in the tournament’s return to the Lahaina Civic Center on Nov. 21-23.

The 2020 tournament was held in Asheville, North Carolina, and last year’s was played in Las Vegas.

Arkansas has reached the Elite Eight the past two seasons under coach Eric Musselman.

Pierson back to Texas Tech as coach after long WNBA career

Getty Images
0 Comments

LUBBOCK, Texas — Plenette Pierson is returning to Texas Tech to be an assistant coach at her alma mater after spending most of the past 20 years in the WNBA, where she played on three championship teams.

Texas Tech said Monday that Pierson, an assistant for the Minnesota Lynx for three years, will join coach Krista Gerlich’s staff in time for summer workouts in Lubbock.

“She is one of the greatest players to come through the Lady Raider program and she has a significant toughness about her that I thoroughly enjoyed watching when she played,” Gerlich said. “What she’s done at the professional level the last 20 years has been remarkable. She will add a lot of credibility to our program and staff due to her knowledge and experience in the professional game.”

Pierson graduated from Texas Tech in 2003, after four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances that included two Elite Eight appearances and two other Sweet 16s. She was the fourth overall pick by Phoenix in the 2003 WNBA draft and went on to play 15 seasons with the Mercury, Detroit Shock/Tulsa Shock, New York Liberty and Dallas Wings. She was part of WNBA titles with the Shock in 2006 and 2008 and the Lynx during her final year as a player in 2017.

The Lady Raiders were 102-30 overall during Pierson’s four seasons as a player. She is still ranked in the top 10 at the school in points (1,602), points per game (15.4), field goals made (602), free throws made (398) and blocked shots (116).

5-star recruit Fisher from Canada signs with Texas Tech

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

LUBBOCK, Texas – Five-star prospect Elijah Fisher from Canada has signed a financial aid agreement with Texas Tech and decided to reclassify to the Class of 2022 so he can join the Big 12 program this summer.

Red Raiders coach Mark Adams announced the signing Thursday.

The 6-foot-7 Fisher, who is 18 years old, is coming off his junior year at Crestwood Academy in Toronto, his sixth season competing at the varsity level. He had played on the varsity level since sixth grade.

Fisher averaged 28 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals per game this season for Crestwood. He set an Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association single-game record with a 75-point game.

The versatile Fisher was MVP of this year’s BioSteel All-Canadian game, a high school all-star game featuring that country’s top talent. He has also represented Canada in international play.

Texas Tech gives Mark Adams new contract with big raise

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech coach Mark Adams has a new contract that includes a hefty pay raise and extends his deal through the 2026-27 season after leading the Red Raiders to the NCAA Sweet 16 in his first season as head coach.

The new contract was announced by the school, just more than a month after Texas Tech finished with a 27-10 record. Adams was the AP Big 12 coach of the year after the Red Raiders were 18-0 at home and third in the Big 12 regular-season standings behind No. 1 seeds Kansas and Baylor – teams they beat at home.

Adams’ total compensation will start at $3 million next season, and annual $50,000 increases will take that to $3.2 million in 2026-27. When Adams replaced Chris Beard last April he initially got a five-year contract and was scheduled to make $1.95 million plus incentives next season.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that Adams, who turns 66 next month, would get an additional year added to his contract if the Red Raiders win or share the Big 12 regular-season championship, win the conference tournament or make the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He also would earn a $200,000 retention bonus if he remains coach on May 1, 2023 and every May 1 thereafter.

“We are proud of the success our men’s basketball program had in its first season under coach Adams,” athletic director Kirby Hocutt said. “Texas Tech basketball is very much a brand at the national level and that has not changed under coach Adams’ leadership.”

Adams was Beard’s top assistant with the Red Raiders for five seasons, including 2018-19 when they went to the national championship game. The homegrown West Texan and 1979 Texas Tech graduate got the job after Beard left for bitter rival Texas, his alma mater.

“I’m proud of the season we had last year and look forward to reaching even higher levels of success as we continue to build this program,” Adams said. “Texas Tech has always been my destination and I will continue doing everything possible to make this the best program in the nation. I thank God for this opportunity to invest in these young men and to represent Texas Tech.”

Along with the wins over Baylor and Kansas, Tech swept two games from the Beard-coached Longhorns.

Duke beats Texas Tech 78-73 to send Coach K to Elite 8

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

SAN FRANCISCO — Mike Krzyzewski has spent more than four decades at Duke telling his players what to do, with championship-level results.

With his Hall of Fame career in danger of coming to an end, Krzyzewski let his players dictate the game-closing defensive strategy of switching from an uncharacteristic zone defense into Duke’s famous man-to-man.

The key defensive stops and two late baskets by Jeremy Roach moved Krzyzewski within one win of his record-setting 13th trip to the Final Four in his farewell season with a 78-73 win over Texas Tech on Thursday night.

Krzyzewski said the players came to him during a late timeout like a “Catholic boys’ choir,” asking in unison for the switch to man that led to three straight stops and turned the game in Duke’s favor.

“With this team they’re so young and they’re still growing,” Krzyzewski said. “Whenever they can own something, they’re going to do it better than if we just run it. When they said that, I felt they’re going to own it. They’ll make it work, and that’s probably more important than strategy during that time. So that’s the way I looked at it.”

Roach did the rest with two jumpers during a 7-0 run as the steady sophomore came through in the clutch for a second straight game to send second-seeded Duke (31-6) into an Elite Eight matchup against fourth-seeded Arkansas.

Paolo Banchero led Duke with 22 points, Mark Williams scored 16 and Roach added 15 as the Blue Devils made their final eight shots from the field to hold off third-seeded Texas Tech (27-10) and give Coach K his record 100th NCAA Tournament victory.

“I would say all year in the biggest moments we’ve always stepped up, and there’s no bigger moment than this,” Banchero said. “I don’t know about these guys, but I’ve never played in a basketball game like that.”

As compelling as the action on the court was in this taut West Region semifinal, the story of this Blue Devils run has surrounded the farewell tour of their Hall of Fame coach.

Krzyzewski announced last June he would retire after this season. After missing the tournament last year, Duke was back with a roster filled with NBA prospects and capable of delivering Krzyzewski his sixth title.

Duke played from behind for much of the first half but was much sharper offensively in the second half. Williams got free for three easy baskets early in the half to get the Blue Devils rolling.

Then the vocal Duke contingent on hand for the first NCAA Tournament games in San Francisco since 1939 made its presence known midway through the half when A.J. Griffin tied the game at 47 with his third 3-pointer and Banchero followed with a jumper that gave Duke the lead.

But a Red Raiders team featuring four super seniors and five players with more than 120 career games didn’t go away and the game stayed tight as Duke used the zone to negate Texas Tech’s strength advantage.

“They have a Hall of Fame coach in Coach K over there and he was trying to find a way to slow us down because we were scoring,” guard Adonis Arms said. “I just think if we would have just recognized it a little quicker, it would have been fine. But it was a great adjustment from Coach K.”

Kevin McCullar and Banchero traded 3s with Banchero’s long-range shot putting Duke up 69-68 with less than three minutes to play.

That’s when Duke made the switch back to man defense. Roach made two jumpers and the defense did the rest with Krzyzewski even throwing in a patented Duke floor slap for good measure. Bryson Williams had a shot blocked by Mark Williams, committed a turnover and shot an airball.

“The slapping the floor, what the hell? Why not?” Krzyzewski said. “Our guys really wanted that because it’s kind of like a cross the bridge to the brotherhood. They can now say they did that.”

Griffin’s two free throws with 12.9 seconds to play gave Duke a 77-73 lead. Arms then missed a 3-pointer and Krzyzewski gave an emphatic fist pump to celebrate his 17th trip to the Elite Eight.

Bryson Williams scored 21 points to lead Texas Tech and McCullar added 17. Kevin Obanor had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double in six career tournament games.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: Coach Mark Adams’ first season has been a remarkable one as he brought in four senior transfers after taking over what had been a thinned-out roster following Chris Beard’s departure for Texas. The Red Raiders made it to their third Sweet 16 in the past four tournaments.

“I thought it was an unbelievable year,” Adams said. “It’s just a team that just reached all kinds of heights no one ever thought was possible.”

Duke: The Blue Devils have been carrying a heavy responsibility trying to cap Krzyzewski’s final season with a championship. The young players showed some nerves early, missing four of five shots and committing three turnovers, leading to a quick timeout by Krzyzewski. They quickly steadied things and got right back into the game but struggled to generate any consistent offense until the second half.

BLOCK OR CHARGE?

There was a lighthearted moment in the first half when Roach came up with a loose ball and was trying to take it up court in transition. Roach stepped on the sideline and then ran into an official before falling down right next to Duke’s bench.

The official ruled for the ball to go back to Texas Tech but Krzyzewski jokingly signaled for a block on the referee instead.

UP NEXT

Duke will play Arkansas on Saturday for a spot in the Final Four. The only previous tournament meeting between the schools came in the 1994 title game that Arkansas won 76-72.

McCullar, Texas Tech beat Notre Dame 59-53 to reach Sweet 16

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

SAN DIEGO — Kevin McCullar made an emphatic dunk with 15 seconds left to cap a 10-1 closing run for No. 3 seed Texas Tech, which advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 59-53 victory over Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

Kevin Obanor had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and McKullar and Bryson Williams each scored 14 for Texas Tech (27-9), which made its third round of 16 in the past four tournaments and fifth in school history. The Red Raiders, under first-year coach Mark Adams, will face second-seeded Duke and retiring 42nd-year coach Mike Krzyzewski in the West Region semifinals Thursday in San Francisco.

Dane Goodwin scored 14 points for 11th-seeded Notre Dame (24-11), which led 52-49 with just over two minutes left. But the Fighting Irish didn’t make a field goal in the last three minutes and Texas Tech made eight straight free throws in the last 1:56, including two by Obanor that put the Red Raiders ahead 53-52 with 1:10 left.

Notre Dame had two turnovers in the final minute. Cormac Ryan was held to nine points after scoring a career-high 29 points, including seven 3-pointers, in a 78-64 win over Alabama in the first round.

McCullar’s slam ended a field goal drought of seven minutes for Texas Tech. He hit a 3-pointer with 7:17 to go, and from there, free throws were somehow enough.

The Fighting Irish were playing their third game in five days. They beat Rutgers in double overtime in a First Four game late Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio, and took a redeye to San Diego.

Texas Tech led 26-25 at halftime. Notre Dame shot 25% in the half, including 31.3% from the 3-point line. The Fighting Irish airballed three 3-pointers. Notre Dame went scoreless during a six-minute stretch early in the first half, but Texas Tech couldn’t take advantage.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame shot only 32.7% overall and 32.1% from 3-point range. Blake Wesley had 11 points.

Texas Tech’s Williams gets to play in his home state. He started his career in his hometown with Fresno State before transferring to UTEP and then Texas Tech.