TCU boosts NCAA hopes with 69-66 upset of No. 9 Texas Tech

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas – Mike Miles and the TCU Horned Frogs needed at least one victory in a stretch of four consecutive games against ranked opponents to help their case for the NCAA Tournament.

A second-half rally against No. 9 Texas Tech might have done the trick.

Miles scored 26 points, Xavier Cork dunked for the go-ahead bucket late and TCU rallied for a 69-66 victory in a wild back-and-forth finish Saturday night.

The Horned Frogs (18-9, 7-8 Big 12) trailed by 11 points early in the second half and went ahead for the first time after the break on a 3-pointer by Francisco Farabello for a 61-60 lead.

TCU’s victory came after losing a 10-point lead in the second half at 20th-ranked Texas. The next two are back-to-back against No. 5 Kansas before a regular-season finale at last-place West Virginia.

An eighth league win almost certainly would be enough. The seventh the Horned Frogs just secured might be.

“We’ve done a lot of things,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “Our league is just ridiculous. There’s going to be some teams that are way better than other teams that make it as at-larges, just because the league’s so tough top to bottom.”

Farabello’s bucket started a stretch of seven consecutive possessions in which the lead changed hands inside the 4-minute mark, with equally loud cheers after each bucket because of the large red-clad Texas Tech contingent in the crowd.

The Horned Frogs finally protected the lead by forcing a shot-clock violation from the Red Raiders (22-7, 11-5) with 34 seconds left after Cork’s dunk put TCU ahead 67-66 with 1:11 remaining.

Miles made one of two free throws with 24 seconds to go before former Texas Tech player Micah Peavy stole an entry pass intended for Bryson Williams, who scored 21 points.

Peavy missed a free throw that would have put the Horned Frogs up four, but Terrence Shannon Jr. and Adonis Arms missed 3-pointers before Peavy got a rebound.

After Peavy missed two more free throws, the Red Raiders called timeout as the buzzer sounded, leading to 0.5 seconds being put on the clock. Williams caught the long inbound pass and hit a turnaround 3-pointer, but it was after the buzzer.

TCU students celebrated with players at midcourt with the officials roped off checking the replay, which confirmed that Williams’ shot was late. It was the end of a four-game Texas Tech winning streak that started with a victory over the Horned Frogs in Lubbock.

“In my gut, I felt like if we couldn’t separate when we were up six, eight, nine, 10 points, it was going to be a game,” first-year Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. “We went back-and-forth at that margin for a while but they just started getting closer and closer and got some momentum and confidence. And we could never get it turned around.”

Emanuel Miller scored 11 points for the Horned Frogs, and Damion Baugh added 10.

Arms had 15 points for the Red Raiders, while Warren scored 12.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders missed a chance to finish their first regular-season sweep of Baylor, Texas and TCU in 26 years. The last one was in 1995-96, the last season of the Southwest Conference. The Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012-13.

TCU: The Horned Frogs trailed for long stretches, and part of the reason they stayed close was solid 3-point shooting from Miles and Baugh. Both came in shooting less than 30% from long range. They combined to go 5 of 11.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Red Raiders might have another one-week stay in the top 10 of The Associated Press poll. They got in for the first time two weeks ago, but a loss at Oklahoma knocked them out right away. This loss puts them at risk of dropping out again.

ROLLER-COASTER RIDE

The split crowd made the back-and-forth finish more entertaining. Farabello’s go-ahead 3 sent a raucous student section into a frenzy, and the roar was just as loud when Arms answered with a dunk. Miles drove for an easy layup, then Tech got another dunk from Williams.

After two free throws from Williams, Warren hit a driving layup. Then Cork dunked on an assist from Miles. TCU shot 55% in the second half against one of the nation’s best teams in field goal percentage defense.

“It was a high-level game, which shouldn’t surprise you in this league and the way we’re playing and the way they’re playing,” Dixon said. “We know how good they are on the defensive end, so I’m sure they wonder about our shooting percentage against them.”

UP NEXT

Texas Tech: The home finale is Monday against Kansas State.

TCU: The first of two against the Jayhawks is at home Tuesday. The rematch is Thursday in Lawrence, a game that was postponed in early January because of COVID-19 issues with the Horned Frogs.

No. 9 Texas Tech wins 20th home game in a row, 66-42 over OU

Oklahoma v Texas Tech
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LUBBOCK, Texas — Ninth-ranked Texas Tech is already tough enough to beat on its home court. Things really got out of hand when Oklahoma kept turning over the ball.

“When you get easy baskets, you know, you’re probably going to win a lot of games,” first-year Tech head coach Mark Adams said.

Davion Warren scored 16 points, Bryson Williams had 13 and the Red Raiders won their 20th consecutive home game, avenging their only loss this month with a 66-42 victory over Oklahoma on Tuesday night. Texas Tech had eight consecutive baskets in the second half off turnovers by the slumping Sooners.

Williams had the first two baskets of the second half when the Red Raiders (22-6, 11-4 Big 12) scored the first 10 points. That included converting an OU turnover into a back-door layup by Adonis Arms, who brought the ball up the court before making the first of five passes between four players – the last a bounce pass from Clarence Nadolny to Arms along the baseline.

“I’m disappointed the way that we came out in the second half. I thought in the first half … we got some shots, some didn’t fall,” first-year Sooners coach Porter Moser said. “But the bottom line is, we had to play really well to beat Texas Tech tonight. We needed a lot of really good performances to beat Texas Tech tonight, and we didn’t have them.”

Jalen Hill had a team-high eight points for the Sooners (14-14, 4-11), who have lost four straight since their 70-55 home win over Texas Tech two weeks ago. Oklahoma had 21 turnovers that led to 26 Tech points, including 13 turnovers in the second half that the Red Raiders converted into 23 points.

Marcus Santos-Silva and Arms both finished with nine points for the Red Raiders, who are 17-0 at home this season. Tech has won its last four games and seven of eight, with the lone loss in Norman.

Warren’s 16 points were the most for the senior transfer since 19 in the second game of the season. He had a combined five points on 1-of-12 shooting the previous two games, but made 7 of 9 shots against Oklahoma.

“Just staying the course. The past couple of games I’ve been getting myself in trouble with foul trouble, so I kind of didn’t get in the rhythm of those games,” Warren said. “It’s really not about scoring, because I didn’t really come here to be the scorer. I did that in my previous years.”

The Red Raiders never trailed, going ahead to stay on a layup by Williams that broke a 7-7 tie only 4 1/2 minutes into the game.

Tech had a 19-0 run over nearly seven minutes midway through the second half that included three consecutive baskets by Santos-Silva. Nadolny had a pass to Santos-Silva streaking into the lane and without a dribble had an impressive slam with his left hand to make it 58-29.

“Whether you lose by that much, or this much, it’s a loss you got to put in the bank,” Moser said. “I’m upset at a lot of things, but on the other hand, we’ve got to move past this.”

BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma: The Sooners, who opened the season 4-0, had their lowest-scoring game of the season and slipped to a .500 record for the first time. They have lost seven of eight. Their win over Texas Tech was their fourth over a top-15 team. … Oklahoma had two-point losses to Kansas and Texas before a 75-54 loss at Iowa State and the setback against Tech. Both lopsided losses have come since a season-ending injury to senior guard Elijah Harkless.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders’ 17-0 record at home this season is now better than No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 4 Kentucky, both at 16-0. The Red Raiders won their final three home games last season. … Texas Tech shot 57% overall (28 of 49) from the field, including a 16-of-23 clip (70%) after halftime.

TOPPING 2K

Williams began his college career with two seasons at Fresno State and two at UTEP before transferring to Tech this season. He surpassed 2,000 career points, and now has 382 of his 2,009 career points for Tech.

“He’s one of the most dedicated guys that I’ve ever been around,” Adams said.

TOURNAMENT TALK

Going into the game, some projections had Oklahoma listed in the first four out of the NCAA Tournament field.

“Got a lot of ball left, don’t count us out,” Moser said. “We’ve got opportunities. We’ve got great opponents.”

UP NEXT

Oklahoma: Home against in-state Big 12 rival Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Sooners lost the first matchup, 64-55, in Stillwater on Feb. 5.

Texas Tech: At TCU on Saturday, two weeks after beating the Horned Frogs 82-49 in Lubbock.

Gonzaga unanimous No. 1 in AP Top 25; Arizona up to 2

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Gonzaga is the unanimous No. 1 in the latest Associated Press men’s basketball poll. The Zags aren’t likely to budge the way they’re dominating the West Coast Conference.

Gonzaga remained at No. 1 for the second straight week, receiving all 61 votes from a media panel in the poll released Monday. Arizona moved up a spot to No. 2 for its highest ranking in four years, with Auburn, Purdue and Kansas rounding out the top five.

Gonzaga (23-2, 12-0 WCC) has followed up last year’s run to the national championship game with another dominating regular season. The Zags haven’t lost since Dec. 4 and their lopsided wins over Pepperdine and Santa Clara last week clinched a 10th straight WCC regular-season title.

Gonzaga is winning its WCC games by an average of 27 points, one of the most dominant conference seasons in the past 25 years, according to KenPom.com. The Zags are on pace to match the 2019 team for largest margin of victory in conference games. They have four of the top five spots on that list in the last 25 years, joined by the 1999 Duke team.

“They could win the whole thing,” Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar said after an 86-66 loss to Gonzaga last Wednesday. “They have size, they have scoring ability, they can guard.”

Gonzaga closes out the regular season with road games against San Francisco and Saint Mary’s before getting the top seed in the West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas.

CLIMBING CATS

Arizona keeps finding ways to win under first-year coach Tommy Lloyd, a longtime Gonzaga assistant.

Picked to finish tied for fourth in the Pac-12 Conference, the Wildcats (24-2, 14-1 Pac-12) have a 2 1/2-game lead over No. 16 Southern California with two weeks left in the regular season.

Arizona shrugged off a shaky start to beat Oregon State 83-69 last Thursday, then outlasted Oregon 84-81 in a high-level game on Saturday.

The wins, combined with Auburn’s loss to Florida, put the Wildcats right behind Gonzaga, where Lloyd coached under Mark Few the previous 22 seasons.

“Weird, cool, awesome – I’m proud of those guys, they’ve got a great team,” Lloyd said. “They’re family and I think they’re happy for us.”

RISING/FALLING

No. 18 Arkansas had the biggest jump of the week, moving up five spots after blowing out Missouri and shutting down No. 17 Tennessee. UConn was next, climbing three spots to No. 21 with wins over Seton Hall and Xavier.

No. 22 Ohio State had the biggest drop of teams still in the poll, falling four spots after losing to Iowa. No. 10 Baylor, No. 11 Providence and No. 15 Illinois all lost three spots.

IN AND OUT

No. 23 Saint Mary’s returned to the poll after a one-week absence following wins over San Francisco and BYU. No. 25 Iowa is ranked for the first time this season following its win over Ohio State.

Michigan State dropped out of the poll from No. 19 with losses to Penn State and Illinois. The Spartans, ranked in the top 10 earlier this season, have lost four of five.

Wyoming’s first stint in the AP Top 25 since 2015 didn’t last long. The Cowboys fell out from No. 22 after splitting against New Mexico and Air Force last week.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Big 10 and Southeastern conferences had five ranked teams each and the Big 12 four. The Pac-12 and Big East each had three and the West Coast Conference two with the addition of Saint Mary’s.

The Atlantic Coast, American Athletic and Ohio Valley conferences each had one ranked team.

Obanor paces No. 11 Texas Tech for sweep of No. 7 Baylor

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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LUBBOCK, Texas – Kevin Obanor scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half while rediscovering his long-range shot, and finished with 13 rebounds, as 11th-ranked Texas Tech beat No. 7 Baylor 83-73 on Wednesday night, completing a regular-season series sweep of the reigning national champion Bears.

Obanor had missed 11 consecutive 3-pointers over 2 1/2 games before making back-to-back shots from beyond the arc to cap a 14-3 run that started the second half and put the Red Raiders (20-6, 9-4 Big 12) ahead to stay. When Obanor had consecutive 3s again later in the game, Tech had led by double digits for the first time.

Bryson Williams added 17 points for Tech, which is 16-0 at home this season, and has won 19 in a row at United Supermarkets Arena. Adonis Arms scored 15 points, and Terrence Shannon had 14 points and five assists.

James Akinjo had 18 points and seven assists for Baylor (21-5, 9-4), while Adam Flagler had 14 points and Matthew Mayer 13. Jeremy Sochan had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Baylor had a 21-game winning streak before its 65-62 home loss on Jan. 11 to the Red Raiders, who overcame an early 15-point deficit.

With Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes among those in the stands cheering on his school, Texas Tech competed its first season sweep of the Bears since 2004-05.

The Bears played a day after big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua had season-ending surgery to repair multiple ligaments in his left knee. The 6-foot-8 junior post, known as “Everyday Jon” because of his high-energy approach to games and practices, got injured in their win Saturday over No. 20 Texas.

Texas Tech was without starting guard Kevin McCullar, out with a sprained left ankle. After missing a shot in Saturday’s win over TCU, McCullar stepped on the foot of Horned Frogs coach Jamie Dixon.

The Red Raiders were down 39-32 at halftime, missing their last five shots after Arms scored with 6:59 let to tie the game at 23-all. Sochan then hit a 3-pointer for the Bears. Texas Tech did make nine free throws in that closing stretch.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The loss last month to the Red Raiders started an 11-game stretch in which the Bears are 6-5. … Baylor and Texas Tech are now tied for second place in the Big 12, a game behind No. 6 Kansas.

Texas Tech: It was the 31st career double-double for Obanor, but the first at Texas Tech for the 6-foot-8 senior transfer from Oral Roberts. Obanor missed his only two 3-pointers before halftime, but was 4 for 5 after that.

UP NEXT

Baylor: Goes for a regular-season sweep when hosting TCU on Saturday. The Bears won 76-64 in Fort Worth on Jan. 8.

Texas Tech: At No. 20 Texas on Saturday, in Red Raiders’ second game against former coach Chris Beard. Tech won the first meeting 77-64 in Lubbock on Feb. 1.

Gray scores 35, Texas Tech women top No. 15 Oklahoma 97-87

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NORMAN, Okla. – Vivian Gray scored 35 points to reach 2,000 in her career, Taylah Thomas had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Texas Tech beat No. 15 Oklahoma 97-87 on Wednesday night to snap a seven-game losing streak.

Gray, who was 12 of 24 from the field, entered needing 28 points to reach the milestone. She reached the mark on a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, the first of her 10 points in the frame.

Texas Tech attempted 22 free throws in the fourth quarter, making 13 in the final minute. Gray and Tatum Veitenheimer each made 5 of 6 free throws in the fourth, and Lexy Hightower went 6 for 6. The Lady Raiders finished 31 of 36 at the stripe.

Hightower added 20 points for Texas Tech (10-14, 3-10 Big 12). The Lady Raiders hadn’t won since Jan. 15 against then-No. 25 Kansas State in the second of three top-25 victories this season.

Skylar Vann had 17 points for Oklahoma (20-5, 9-4). Nevaeh Tot and Madi Williams each added 16 points and Taylor Robertson had 14. The Sooners turned it over 14 times, leading to 19 Texas Tech points.

No. 19 Texas Tech taking down top 10s with senior transfers

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Adonis Arms, Kevin Obanor, Bryson Williams and Davion Warren are all seniors who played for smaller programs last season.

Together at Texas Tech, with first-year head coach Mark Adams and a handful of returners, they have helped the 19th-ranked Red Raiders take down consecutive top 10 opponents in the Big 12.

Arms, Obanor and Williams all scored in double figures in a 65-62 road win that ended top-ranked Baylor’s nation-best 21-game winning streak on Tuesday night, three days after the Red Raiders beat then-No. 6 Kansas at home.

“We’re a team that believes in each other, and believes in what we’re doing together, and believes in our defense,” Adams said. “These guys have a lot of confidence because of just this eternal bond that they have. These guys get along well with each other, and love to play, they’re great competitors.”

Adams described the transfers as older, veteran players with chips on their shoulders who want to prove themselves.

Arms, who played at Winthrop last year after two junior college seasons and a stop at Division II Northwest Nazarene, had team highs with 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists against Baylor. There was also a highlight dunk late, with a spin move around big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua for a powerful one-handed slam as the Red Raiders (12-3, 2-1 Big 12) held on late.

“That was nasty,” Kevin McCullar, one of Tech’s returning players, said admirably.

Texas Tech is home Thursday night against Oklahoma State in the makeup of a game postponed Jan. 1 because of COVID-19 protocols, then goes to Kansas State on Saturday. That will wrap up five Big 12 games in an 11-day span that began with an 51-47 loss at then-No. 11 Iowa State when the four transfers were among only seven players available for the game.

Baylor led 9-0 after only 85 seconds, and had a 31-16 lead with 6:12 left in the first half before Tech then went on a 17-2 run interrupted by halftime. The Red Raiders tied the game for the first time on a three-point play by Williams that made it 33-all. The game was tied at 46 when McCullar had a steal and made a nifty bounce pass to Obanor, a three-year starter at Oral Roberts who had a slam for the last of his 13 points.

Williams, who played 65 games in two seasons at Fresno State and 56 more games the past two years at UTEP before getting to Tech, had the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:52 left and finished with 13 points against Baylor.

Williams had 22 points and eight rebounds in the 75-67 win over the Jayhawks, when Tech was without McCullar (ankle) and leading scorer Terrence Shannon, who has now missed six games in a row with a back issue.

Warren, who went to junior college before the past two seasons at Hampton, made two free throws with 22 seconds against Baylor for a three-point lead. The Bears, the defending national champions and last unbeaten Division I team, missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game.

“For sure one of my biggest wins here at Tech,” said McCullar, a junior in his fourth year in the program. “Glad to do it with these guys and coach Adams.”

McCullar is the only player remaining from Tech’s NCAA Final Four run, though he was redshirting when the Red Raiders made it to the national championship game three years ago. He is one of five players back since Chris Beard left at the end of last season to become head coach at Texas.

Adams, a Tech alumnus, had been Beard’s top assistant before getting his dream job.

Shannon also opted to return after considering early entry in the NBA draft, but leading scorer and All-Big 12 guard Mac McClung left early for the pros, third-leading scorer Kyler Edwards transferred to Houston and Micah Peavy, a starting guard as a freshman, went to TCU.

“I think we’ve grown up a lot,” Adams said after the Kansas game. “There’s a toughness about us that we may not have a few weeks ago or even when we played Gonzaga and Providence. These guys didn’t quit.”