Texas Tech beats Purdue, advances to NCAA Elite Eight

The third-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders ran away from No. 2 Purdue 78-65 Friday night in Boston, advancing to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

Texas Tech will play No. 1-seed Villanova on Sunday for the East Region championship and a trip to the Final Four in San Antonio.

In a television interview, Texas Tech coach Chris Beard called it “one of our best defensive games” of the season and cited guard Keenan Evans for taking over “like he usually does.”

Evans hit clutch shots down the stretch in finishing with a team-high 16 points.

Perhaps more significantly, the Red Raiders held Purdue to 44 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers.

Texas Tech had made it to the Round of 16 twice in the past 22 years but lost both times.

Tech’s victory places a third team from the Big 12 Conference in the Elite Eight.

The Red Raiders will join the Kansas State Wildcats and the Kansas Jayhawks, all with a chance to make it to San Antonio.

In Saturday’s Elite Eight games, Kansas State will play Loyola-Chicago in Atlanta for the South Region championship, while Florida State will take on Michigan in Los Angeles for the West title.

On Sunday, Tech will face off against talented Villanova in Boston, while Kansas will play Duke, in Omaha, for Midwest Region crown.

Tech might have as balanced of a team as any left in the tournament because of its athleticism, its defense and its ability to get shots close to the basket.

“We just gave up way too many layups,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We couldn’t keep ’em out of the paint.”

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