Late run lifts third-seeded Texas Tech past SFA, 70-60

Keenan Evans scored 23 points Thursday night in a 70-60 victory for third-seeded Texas Tech over No. 14 Stephen F. Austin in an NCAA East Regional round-of-64 game at Dallas.

Trailing by seven, Texas Tech outscored SFA 26-9 in the last 10 minutes of the game to secure its first NCAA victory in 13 years.

The win lifted the Red Raiders (25-9) of the Big 12 conference into the round of 32 against either sixth-seeded Florida or No. 11 St. Bonaventure.

Riding a five-game winning streak into the tournament, the Southland Conference champs from SFA (28-7) played well for 30 minutes and had a chance, but lost in Kyle Keller’s first NCAA game as a head coach.

The game was a reunion of coaches, of sorts.

Keller and SFA assistant Jeremy Cox worked on Tim Carter’s staff at UTSA in the 1990s, and both knew Chris Beard, then an assistant at Incarnate Word.

Beard is in his second season as Texas Tech’s head coach.

Stat leaders

Texas Tech: Keenan Evans, 23 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists. Zhaire Smith, 10 points, 8 rebounds.

SFA: Ivan Canete, 17 points, 5 of 8 shooting, 4 steals. Shannon Bogues, 14 points off the bench. Kevon Harris, 12 points, 4 steals. TJ Holyfield, 10 points.

Coming up: Texas Tech will meet either Florida or St. Bonaventure with a berth in the Sweet 16 on the line. Tech’s last Sweet 16 berth came in 2005 under coach Bob Knight.

Texas Tech, SFA to meet in NCAA round of 64 at Dallas

Seven programs from the state of Texas were slotted into the 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The tournament opens Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, on the first of two days of the First Four, and then it concludes with the Final Four, set for March 31 and April 2 at the Alamodome.

Here’s the bracket just released at ncaa.com.

Texas schools in the tournament include Texas Tech, Stephen F. Austin, TCU, Texas Southern, Houston, Texas A&M and Texas.

Texas Tech … The Red Raiders (24-9) are the No. 3 seed in the East Region and will be headed to Dallas to play on Thursday against 14th-seed Stephen F. Austin (28-6). The winner would play again on Saturday against sixth-seeded Florida or No. 11 UCLA or St. Bonaventure.

Stephen F. Austin … The Lumberjacks are coached by former UTSA and Texas A&M assistant Kyle Keller. In his second year with SFA, Keller led the Lumberjacks to the Southland Conference postseason title with a 59-55 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night in Katy.

TCU … The sixth-seeded Horned Frogs (21-11) will play either No. 11 Syracuse (20-13) or Arizona State (20-11) on Friday in Detroit in the Midwest Region. If TCU can win, it would draw either third-seeded Michigan State or No. 14 Bucknell.

Texas Southern … The Tigers (15-19) open with the North Carolina Central Eagles (19-15) on Wednesday in Dayton on the second day of the First Four phase of the tournament. The winner of the matchup will advance as a No. 16 seed to face West Region No. 1 Xavier on Friday night in Nashville.

Houston … The Cougars (26-7) are seeded 6th in the West, opening Thursday in Wichita, Kansas, against No. 11 San Diego State (22-10). The winner would advance to play either No. 3 Michigan or No. 14 Montana on Saturday.

Texas A&M … The Aggies (20-12) are seeded 7th in the West and will start play Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina, against 10th-seeded Providence (21-13). If the Aggies advance they would face either No. 2 North Carolina or No. 15 Lipscomb on Sunday.

Texas … The Longhorns (19-14) are a No. 10 seed in the South, playing against No. 7 Nevada (27-7) on Friday in Nashville. A victory would boost them into a round of 32 game Sunday against either second-seeded Cincinnati or Georgia State.

Quotable

“This is a day we’ve looked forward to and knew it was going to happen,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard told boosters Sunday night, in remarks published in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “So thanks for making it special for the players. We can’t thank you enough for your support this year. Let’s make Red Raider nation a big force in Dallas.”