Final Four-bound Texas Tech stuns Gonzaga, 75-69

The Texas Tech Red Raiders will play in the NCAA Final Four for the first time in school history.

Third-seeded Texas Tech, led by third-year head coach Chris Beard, earned the trip by surprising No. 1 Gonzaga 75-69 Saturday afternoon in the West Regional Finals.

As a result, the Red Raiders will play in the NCAA semifinals a week from today in Minneapolis.

They’ll take on either Duke or Michigan State, who play Sunday in Washington, D.C., for the East Regional title.

In the game played at Anaheim, California, the Red Raiders shut down one of the nation’s most explosive offensive teams with a relentless defensive effort.

They held the Bulldogs to 20 points below their average and to 42.4 percent shooting from the field.

Records

Texas Tech 30-6
Gonzaga 33-4

Individuals

Texas Tech — Jarrett Culver, 19 points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals. Tariq Owens, 9 points, five blocked shots, seven rebounds. Matt Mooney, 17 points. Davide Moretti, 12.

Gonzaga — Rui Hachimura, 22 points, six rebounds. Brandon Clarke, 18 points, 12 rebounds.

Duke is too good to pick against in the NCAA Tournament

Well, here it is. The NCAA Tournament bracket that you’ve all been waiting for. No. 1 seeds are Duke, Gonzaga, Virginia and North Carolina. The No. 2s include Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Texas teams

(3) Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. (14) Northern Kentucky Norse — Midwest Regional, at Tulsa, Okla., Friday, 12:30 p.m., TNT.

(3) Houston Cougars vs. (14) Georgia State Panthers — West Regional, at Tulsa, Okla., Friday, 6:20 p.m., TBS

(9) Baylor Bears vs. (8) Syracuse Orange — Thursday, at Salt Lake City, Thursday, 8:57 p.m., truTV

(15) Abilene Christian Wildcats vs. (2) Kentucky Wildcats — Thursday, at Jacksonville, Fla., 7:10 p.m., CBS

(16) Prairie View A&M Panthers vs. (16) Fairleigh Dickinson (round of 68) — Tuesday, at Dayton, Ohio, 7:40 p.m., truTV.

Bracket buster

Keep an eye on the Ja Morant-led Murray State Racers, seeded 12th in the West, who are good enough to spring an upset against No. 5 Marquette in the first round. I also like the West’s third-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders’ chances to go deep in the bracket.

Final Four projection

Duke in the East, Texas Tech in the West, Virginia in the South and North Carolina in the Midwest. I really like the Houston Cougars, but they’d need to get through Kentucky in the Sweet 16, and I don’t think that will happen. Kentucky has a chance against North Carolina in the Elite Eight, but the Tar Heels have too much firepower.

Who will win?

Duke over Texas Tech in one semifinal. North Carolina over Virginia in the other. Duke over North Carolina for the title.

Local athletes

Duke forward Justin Robinson (San Antonio Christian), Gonzaga guard Jeremy Jones (East Central), Minnesota forward Jordan Murphy (Brennan) and Colgate guard Jordan Burns (Marshall). Baylor forward Tristan Clark (Wagner) is injured.

Texas Tech’s Kevin McCullar (Wagner) is a redshirt. Prairie View A&M guard Tyler Singleton played previously at the University of the Incarnate Word.

Area colleges

Texas State (24-9) hosts Florida International (19-13) Saturday at 6 p.m. in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

UTSA (17-15) and UIW (6-25) will not play in the postseason.

Texas Tech routs Texas, 70-51, to stoke Big 12 title hopes

The eighth-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders will win at least a share of their first Big 12 basketball title if they can beat Iowa State on the road Saturday.

Can they do it?

“That’s the plan,” Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver told ESPN’s Holly Rowe after Monday night’s 70-51 home victory over the Texas Longhorns.

The Red Raiders won their eighth straight game with dominant defense, holding the Longhorns to 29.6 percent shooting.

Sharp-shooting guard Jase Febres couldn’t get many open looks and finished 1-for-10 from the field, underscoring Texas’ struggles against one of the best defensive teams in the nation.

On the other end, the Red Raiders patiently picked apart the Longhorns with 50 percent field goal accuracy.

Six different players hit at least one three-pointer for Tech, led by Davide Moretti’s 3 for 3.

Culver scored 16, Matt Mooney 15 and Moretti 11 for the Red Raiders, who are tied for first with the Kansas State Wildcats leading into the final weekend.

Kansas State beat TCU 64-52 in Fort Worth to keep pace in the race. Kansas State plays at home Saturday in its finale against Oklahoma.

Big 12 standings

Texas Tech 13-4, 25-5
Kansas State 13-4, 23-7
Kansas 11-5, 22-7
Baylor 10-6, 19-10
Iowa State 9-7, 20-9
Texas 8-9, 16-14
TCU 6-10, 18-11
Oklahoma 6-10, 18-11
West Virginia 3-13, 11-18
Oklahoma State 3-13, 10-19

No. 8 Texas Tech puts winning streak on line against Texas

The Big 12-title contending Texas Tech Red Raiders have moved up to eighth in the weekly Associated Press Top 25 leading into tonight’s game in Lubbock against Texas.

The Red Raiders have won seven straight, averaging 81 points per game during that stretch.

Last week, they kept the streak alive with victories over Oklahoma State and TCU.

Playing at home, Tech went to overtime last Wednesday to subdue Oklahoma State, 84-80.

On Saturday, the Red Raiders traveled to Fort Worth and blew out the Horned Frogs, 81-66.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, Tech and Kansas State (both 12-4) lead the Big 12 standings, with 14-time defending champion Kansas (11-5) trailing by one game.

Baylor (10-6) is fourth.

Notable

Former Jefferson High School star Rick Bullock is one of seven individuals set to be honored in Lubbock tonight as an inductee into the Texas Tech Athletics Ring of Honor.

Bullock is known in San Antonio for leading Jefferson to the 1972 state tournament championship game.

The 6-foot-7 center went on to play at Texas Tech, where he scored 2,118 points and pulled down 1,057 rebounds in his career.

Bullock led the Red Raiders to Southwest Conference titles in 1973 and again in 1976.

Texas Tech played in the NCAA Tournament both years. The 1976 team reached the Sweet 16.

Others set for induction are Marsha Sharp, Sheryl Swoopes, Andre Emmett, Dub Malaise, Carolyn Thompson and Jim Reid.

AP Top 25
1. Gonzaga 29-2 West Coast
2. Virginia 26-2 ACC
3. North Carolina 24-5 ACC
4. Duke 25-4 ACC
5. Tennessee 26-3 SEC
6. Kentucky 24-5 SEC
7. Michigan 26-4 Big Ten
8. Texas Tech 24-5 Big 12
9. Michigan State 23-6 Big Ten
10. LSU 24-5 SEC
11. Purdue 22-7 Big Ten
12. Houston 27-2 American
13. Kansas 22-7 Big 12
14. Florida State 23-6 ACC
15. Virginia Tech 22-6 ACC
16. Marquette 23-6 Big East
17. Nevada 26-3 Mountain West
18. Kansas State 22-7 Big 12
19. Buffalo 26-3 Mid-American
20. Cincinnati 25-4 American
21. Wisconsin 20-9 Big Ten
22. Wofford 26-4 Southern
23. Villanova 22-8 Big East
24. Maryland 21-9 ACC
25. UCF 22-6 American

Kansas State smothers 14th-ranked Texas Tech, 58-45

Guard Barry Brown Jr. scored 15 points, and the Kansas State Wildcats won their fifth straight game by smothering the 14th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders, 58-45, Tuesday night in Manhattan.

In handing the Red Raiders their third straight loss in the Big 12, Wildcats forward Dean Wade added 13 points and four rebounds in his fourth game back from a foot injury.

Kansas State’s team defense was relentless, holding Texas Tech to its lowest point total of the season. The Red Raiders shot 32.7 percent from the field. Jarrett Culver led Texas Tech with 17 points and 7 rebounds.

In the first meeting of the two teams in Lubbock on Jan. 5, Texas Tech claimed a 63-57 victory, with Davide Moretti scoring 19 and Matt Mooney 14. On the other end of the floor, the Red Raiders held the Wildcats to 33.3 percent shooting.

In the rematch, Kansas State nearly reversed the outcome. The Wildcats held Moretti to six points and Mooney scored only two on 1 of 9 shooting.

Records

Texas Tech 15-4, 4-3
Kansas State 15-4, 5-2

Notable

With Wade out of the lineup, Kansas State lost its first two Big 12 games this season. K-State has now won five in a row against West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech.

On the other hand, Texas Tech won its first four, only to lose its last three to Iowa State (68-64), Baylor (73-62) and Kansas State.

Both teams reached the Round of Eight in the NCAA Tournament last year.

Shooting woes

Texas Tech was shooting 47.1 percent from the field as a team coming into Manhattan.

But the Red Raiders have been struggling to put the ball in the hoop lately. In their last three games, they shot:

1) 26 of 63 for 41.3 percent at home vs. Iowa State
2) 21 of 45 (46.7) on the road at Baylor.
3) 16 of 49 (32.7) on the road at Kansas State.

Culver’s double-double lifts Texas Tech over Oklahoma, 66-59

Guard Jarrett Culver produced 23 points and a career-high 13 rebounds Tuesday night, pacing the eighth-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders to a 66-59 victory over the No. 23 Oklahoma Sooners.

In one way, the Red Raiders won the game at the free throw line, hitting 17 of 17 to the Sooners’ 10 of 14.

Texas Tech made all six free throws in the final 45 seconds to help seal its third win without a loss in Big 12 play.

The Red Raiders also played their standard solid ball game defensively, holding the Sooners to 20 of 62 from the field, for 32.3 percent.

Only two Sooners’ players reached double figures, with Christian James scoring 14 and Brady Manek 13.

Records

Oklahoma 12-3, 1-2
Texas Tech 14-1, 3-0

Individuals

Oklahoma — Christian James, 14 points, on 4 of 12 shooting. Brady Manek, 13 points, on 4 of 10 shooting.

Texas Tech — Jarrett Culver, 23 points, 13 rebounds, 8 of 13 field goals. Davide Moretti, 12 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals. Tariq Owens, 4 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks. Off the bench, Brandone Francis, 8 points.

Notable

Oklahoma entered the game coming off a seven-point loss at Kansas and a 10-point victory at home against Oklahoma State. Texas Tech had won on the road at West Virginia and at home against Kansas State. With the win over Oklahoma, the Red Raiders improved to 10-0 at home.

Quotable

“I think Oklahoma is going to be part of the fight (for the conference title), so this is a really good win for us.” — Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said on the team’s radio broadcast.


Texas Tech’s Norense Odiase produced eight points on 3 of 3 shooting from the field and 2 of 2 at the line.

Duke rallies past Texas Tech, 69-58, in New York

Forward RJ Barrett scored 10 of his 16 points in the last 14 minutes Thursday, leading the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils to a 69-58 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders

Duke was down 42-34 with 14:22 remaining when Tech freshman guard Kyler Evans hit a layup off a feed from Jarrett Culver.

From there, the Blue Devils picked up the defensive intensity, started to flow in offensive transition and handed the Red Raiders from the Big 12 conference their first loss of the season.

As the Blue Devils gained momentum, a 3-pointer out of the corner from Cam Reddish served to deflate the Red Raiders further.

It lifted Duke into a 63-57 lead with 3:26 remaining.

Records

Texas Tech 10-1
Duke 10-1

Individuals

Texas Tech — Jarrett Culver, 25 points 6 rebounds, 4 assists. Culver also had 6 of his team’s 24 turnovers.

Duke — Zion Williamson, 17 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out. RJ Barrett, 16 points. Tre Jones, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals.

Trailing 8-0 early, the 12th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders rallied into a 29-28 halftime lead on No. 2 Duke at Madison Square Garden.

Tech looked out of sorts in the early going with turnovers leading to Duke transition points.

But the Red Raiders settled down under sophomore guard Jarrett Culver, taking a 21-14 lead on the heels of a 21-6 run.

Duke routs Princeton, 101-50, in warmup for Texas Tech

Duke sensation Zion Williamson caught an elbow in the mouth in the first half, but that didn’t slow down the Blue Devils, who — figuratively speaking — smacked Princeton around for most of the rest of the night in a 101-50 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Next up for the second-ranked Blue Devils? A trip to New York for a meeting with the undefeated and 12th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders. The game is set for Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

Records

Duke 10-1
Princeton 5-5

Individuals

Duke — RJ Barrett, 27 points, 6 rebounds. Zion Williamson, 17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks. Princeton — Myles Stephens, 19 points, 3 steals.

Notable

The Blue Devils had 14 blocked shots and 12 steals. It was the fifth time Duke has had 10 or more blocks in a game this season. Duke had double digit steals for the fifth straight game, which is tied for the third-longest streak in school history and the longest since a five-game streak in the 2000-01 season.

Quotable

— Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, in comments posted on the school’s website:

“The guys played great defense tonight, especially against an extended dribble. I thought RJ (Barrett) did a great job on (Devin) Cannady, who is an outstanding player. He didn’t leave him. His length and not letting him get the ball, and even when he got it, the length was a key factor in stopping him.

“Tre (Jones’) pressure on (Jaelin) Llewellyn was key, and for the most part we kept them out of the paint. And when they did get in the paint, our big guys came over and blocked a lot of shots. Which is what they are supposed to do and they did it.”

Duke-fueled hype on the horizon for 10-0 Texas Tech

The 11th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders are taking a clear-eyed view of their 10-0 record leading into a Thursday night game in New York against the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils.

Asked late Saturday night how he will “coach emotion” in preparation for Mike Krzyzewski’s perennial ACC powerhouse, Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said it won’t be a problem.

“It’s kind of a non-issue with us because we got these seniors,” Beard said. “These four seniors, they know that 10-0 doesn’t mean much.

“We’d much rather win our last 10 games. That means you’re going to win the Big 12 tournament and the national championship.”

The Big 12 regular-season schedule starts in January, and Tech is expected to be a contender in the conference race.

But until then, the Duke game promises to be a topic of discussion locally, as well as in the biggest media market in the nation.

Conversations on the game could very well spin off into issues, such as:

1) Whether the Red Raiders are as good as advertised. After all, they lost a lot of talent from last year’s Elite Eight team, and their best victories this year, thus far, have come against Southern Cal, Nebraska and Memphis.

2) Whether they can guard Blue Devils freshmen RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, already considered as NBA lottery prospects.

3) Whether they can deal with the hype of a game played in the biggest media market in the nation.

As a coach, Beard seems much more concerned about how he will deal with the Blue Devils’ talent, and not so much the intangibles.

Tech seniors such as Brandone Francis, Matt Mooney, Norense Odiase and Tariq Owens seem to instill confidence in the coach.

So does sophomore Jarrett Culver, who scored 30 points Saturday night in an 82-48 victory over Abilene Christian.

No doubt, Beard has some swagger about him.

“With some younger teams, I’d worry about things like (a big-game atmosphere),” Beard said. “But with these four seniors leading this team, and (with) Jarrett Culver being a best-player type guy …

“You know I got a lot to worry about, with the next game on the schedule (against) a Hall of Fame coach, and NBA (caiber) players. I don’t worry much about our guys not being focused,” he said.

Texas Tech moves up to 13th in AP basketball poll

Texas Tech has moved up seven places to No. 13 in the latest installment of the Associated Press Top 25 in men’s basketball, according to the poll released Monday.

The Red Raiders (7-0) remained undefeated with a 78-67 victory over the Memphis Tigers Saturday night in Miami.

Center Tariq Owens led the comeback victory with six blocked shots in the last nine minutes as the Red Raiders put together a 33-10 run.

For the game, Owens finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks.

Texas Tech is the third school for Owens, from Odenton, Maryland. He played one season at Tennessee and two at St. John’s.

In his first year with the Red Raiders, the 6-foot-11 graduate transfer is averaging 7.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks.

Big 12 notebook

Ranked 17th last week, the Texas Longhorns dropped out of the Top 25 after losing at home last Friday night to the Radford Highlanders … Big 12 teams in the poll this week include No. 2 Kansas, No. 13 Texas Tech and No. 16 Kansas State.

Surprise teams

Three surprise teams in the Top 25 are the Nevada Wolf Pack, the Buffalo Bulls and the Furman Paladins.

It’s not so surprising that Nevada is in the poll, but it is that they have zoomed up to No. 6. Last year, the Eric Musselman-coached Pack started to make waves with victories over 10th-seeded Texas and No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament. They were ousted in the Sweet 16 by Loyola-Chicago. This year, they’re 8-0, with their latest victory a 73-61 decision over Southern Cal.

Meanwhile, in New York, the Nate Oats-coached Bulls are 7-0, including road wins at West Virginnia and Southern Illinois. They also notched recent victories over Milwaukee and previously undefeated San Francisco in Belfast, Ireland. Last year, Buffalo knocked off fourth-seeded Arizona in the NCAA round of 64.

The Paladins, under coach Bob Richey, made the poll for the first time this week at No. 25. Furman is also 8-0 with victories over two of last year’s Final Four teams, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers and the defending champion Villanova Wildcats.

Top 25

1. Gonzaga 8-0 West Coast
2. Kansas 6-0 Big 12
3. Duke 7-1 ACC
4. Virginia 7-0 ACC
5. Michigan 8-0 Big Ten
6. Nevada 8-0 Mountain West
7. Tennessee 6-1 SEC
8. Auburn 6-1 SEC
9. Kentucky 7-1 SEC
10. Michigan State 6-2 Big Ten
11. Florida State 6-1 ACC
12. Wisconsin 7-1 Big Ten
13. Texas Tech 7-0 Big 12
14. North Carolina 6-2 ACC
15. Virginia Tech 6-1 ACC
16. Kansas State 6-1 Big 12
17. Buffalo 7-0 Mid-American
18. Iowa 6-1 Big Ten
19. Ohio State 7-1 Big Ten
20. Arizona State 7-0 Pac 12
21. Villanova 6-2 Big East
22. Mississippi State 6-1 SEC
23. Maryland 7-1 ACC
24. Nebraska 7-1 Big Ten
25. Furman 8-0 Southern