Evans scores 26 as No. 7 Texas Tech beats Oklahoma, 88-78

Texas Tech’s best season in 13 years just got a little better.

Guard Keenan Evans scored 26 points Tuesday night as the seventh-ranked Red Raiders pulled away late to down No. 23 Oklahoma, 88-78, in a Big 12 game at Lubbock.

Alone in first place in the conference, the Red Raiders (22-4, 10-3) held OU freshman Trae Young to 19 points in running their winning streak to seven.

Texas Tech hasn’t won 22 games in a season since 2004-05, when the Bob Knight-coached Red Raiders finished 22-11.

Young entered the ESPN national-television game leading the nation in scoring (29.5) and assists (9.4).

In a strategy that proved effective, Tech employed traps with taller perimeter players in holding Young to 4 of 16 shooting.

Guarded alternately by Jarrett Culver, Zhaire Smith and Niem Stevenson, all of them with at least a three-inch height advantage, the Red Raiders hounded the 6-2 Young into an 0-for-9 night from 3-point range.

It was a eventful homecoming for Young, a Lubbock native whose father played for the Red Raiders.

Not only was the Tech defense all over him, so were the fans who booed and chanted.

“I get that everywhere I go,” Young told newsok.com. “Just because I’m back here in Lubbock, I didn’t think I was going to get a welcome-home type of feel.

“I wasn’t expecting anything different tonight.”

In the beginning, Oklahoma jumped out to an early five-point lead and hung on to lead by one at the half.

The Sooners (16-9, 6-7) continued to play well as a team and mustered a 64-63 lead with 8:51 remaining.

But the Red Raiders were too tough down the stretch.

After Evans drove for a dunk to give Tech an 81-74 lead, OU never got any closer.

Young even dribbled off his foot for a turnover on one possession.

Evans, a senior from Richardson, hit 9 of 15 shots from the field. He also tied a season high with 4 three-point buckets on 7 attempts.

Three other Texas Tech players reached double figures in scoring, including center Norense Odiase with 14. Smith scored 13 and Stevenson had 12 off the bench.

“We’re defending. We’re locking people down,” Odiase told lubbockonline.com. “We’re really harping on defense. … We’re tightening it up together in these last six to seven games. We’ve been playing on that end.”

Trae Young scores 44 as OU holds off Baylor, 98-96

Freshman sensation Trae Young produced 44 points and nine assists Tuesday night as Oklahoma edged Baylor, 98-96.

Ryan Aber of newsok.com has the story here.

Young has now produced a Big 12 record of four games of 40 points in a season. Here’s a breakdown:

Nov. 26, 2017
Final score: Oklahoma 90, Oregon 80
Where: Portland, Oregon
Points: 43
Assists: 7
Minutes played: 37
Field goals: 11-22
Three pointers: 4-11
Free throws: 17-18
Notable: Young scored the most points for a Sooner since Buddy Hield had 46 in then No. 1 Oklahoma’s 109-106 loss to No. 2 Kansas in triple overtime on Jan. 4, 2016, according to the Associated Press.
Quotable: “I found my teammates and found some for myself,” Young said. “My teammates did a great job of knocking down shots and that opened up the floor for me.”

Dec. 30, 2017
Final score: Oklahoma 102, TCU 97 in overtime
Where: Norman, Oklahoma
Points: 43
Assists: 7
Minutes played: 40
Field goals: 15-27
Three pointers: 10-18
Free throws: 3-7
Notable: Young scored 29 after halftime. It was Young’s second dominating performance against TCU this season. He had 39 in Fort Worth on Dec. 30.
Quotable: “Sometimes you wonder, is he even human?” asked Oklahoma guard Christian James.

Jan. 20, 2018
Final score: Oklahoma State 83, Oklahoma 81 in overtime
Where: Stillwater, Oklahoma
Points: 48
Assists: 8
Minutes played: 43
Field goals: 14-39
Three pointers: 8-20
Free throws: 12-12
Notable: Young missed a long three at the overtime buzzer. None of Young’s teammates scored more than eight points.
Quotable: “We’ve got to work harder on getting more motion away from the ball and get the ball moving a little bit,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said.

Jan 30, 2018
Final score: Oklahoma 98, Baylor 96
Where: Norman, Oklahoma
Points: 44
Assists: 9
Minutes played: 38
Field goals: 11-20
Three pointers: 6-11
Free throws: 16-19
Notable: The next stop for Young and the Sooners is Austin. OU plays at Texas on Saturday.
Quotable: “Trae Young is a special player,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “His 3-point shot is obviously elite. What we tried to do was not get him on the free-throw line. As you can see, we weren’t effective there.”

Clutch shooting lifts OU past Kansas, 85-80

Christian James and Brady Manek knocked down clutch three pointers in the final 69 seconds Tuesday night as 12th-ranked Oklahoma rallied for an 85-80 victory in Big 12 men’s basketball over No. 5 Kansas.

National player of the year candidate Trae Young, a freshman, assisted on both baskets.

Playing at home before an energized crowd, Oklahoma (15-4, 5-3) led for much of the first half and held a two-point edge at halftime.

But first-place Kansas (16-4, 6-2) started to click after intermission, surging into a 10-point advantage with nine minutes left.

When guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk buried a three pointer with 9:26 remaining, the Jayhawks had a 72-62 lead.

At the end, Kansas seemed to have control when Lagerald Vick followed a Devonte’ Graham miss.

The basket silenced the crowd and put the Jayhawks up 80-77 with 2:33 left.

From there, the Sooners went on an 8-0 run to the final buzzer.

Young hit a couple of free throws and then created plays for James and Manek.

On the first play, Young drove baseline and, from under the goal, he passed outside to James on the wing.

James, who was 0-for-6 from three-point range in his last game, swished the shot with 1:09 remaining to give the Sooners an 82-80 lead.

After Mykhailiuk missed a three on the other end for Kansas, Young got the ball in his hands again, and he punished the visitors.

Dribbling at the top of the three-point circle, Young drove to his right. With his head down, he hooked a no-look pass to Manek on the right wing.

Manek swished it with 27 seconds left for the final points.

Young, who ranks No.1 in the nation in scoring and assists, finished with 26 points and nine assists. James scored 15 points and Manek had 14.

Mykhailiuk scored 24 to lead the Jayhawks, while Malik Newman added 20.

Graham, Kansas’ leading scorer at 18 points per game, had a rough night shooting the ball, hitting only 4 of 19 from the field.

He finished with 11 points and nine assists.

Around the Big 12

Down by 15 points in the second half, 14th-ranked Texas Tech came from behind to stun Oklahoma State, 75-70, in Lubbock…

The conference race has tightened considerably, with Kansas (6-2) leading by a game over Oklahoma, Texas Tech, West Virginia and Kansas State (all 5-3). Texas (4-4) is two games back …

Oklahoma moves up to fourth in AP Top 25

The Oklahoma Sooners have climbed to No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 for college basketball, according to the poll announced on Monday.

Led by freshman point guard Trae Young, the Sooners moved up from ninth after posting home victories last week over nationally-ranked Texas Tech and TCU.

In a 75-65 victory over Texas Tech, Young bounced back from a slow start with 22 of his 27 points in the second half.

He scored 43 as OU knocked off TCU, 102-97, in overtime.

The Sooners play twice on the road this week, Tuesday at Kansas State and Saturday at Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma hosts defending Big 12 champion Kansas on Jan. 23.

Currently, OU shares first place in the conference standings with Texas Tech, West Virginia and Kansas, all at 4-1.

In the latest AP poll, Villanova remained No. 1, followed by second-ranked Virgina and No. 3 Purdue.

1 Villanova (16-1) Big East
2 Virginia (16-1) ACC
3 Purdue (17-2) Big Ten
4 Oklahoma (14-2) Big 12
5 Duke (15-2) ACC
6 West Virginia (15-2) Big 12
7 Wichita State (15-2) American
8 Texas Tech (15-2) Big 12
9 Michigan State (16-3) Big Ten
10 Kansas (14-3) Big 12
11 Xavier (16-3) Big East
12 Cincinnati (15-2) American
13 Gonzaga (16-3) West Coast
14 Arizona (14-4) Pac 12
15 North Carolina (14-4) ACC
16 Arizona State (14-3) Pac 12
17 Auburn (16-1) SEC
18 Kentucky (14-3) SEC
19 Seton Hall (15-3) Big East
20 Clemson (15-2) ACC
21 Tennessee (12-4) SEC
22 Ohio State (15-4) Big Ten
23 Michigan (15-4) Big Ten
24 TCU (13-4) Big 12
25 Miami (13-3) ACC

A few questions and answers about the Big 12 basketball race

Sitting around on a Sunday afternoon wondering about a few topics of discussion in the Big 12 basketball race:

First, how did West Virginia contain Oklahoma’s Trae Young? Young, OU’s sensational freshman, scored 29 points but had to work hard to get every one of them. West Virginia ended up winning 89-76 in Morgantown even with its own standout, Jevon Carter, on the bench in foul trouble in the second half. Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette-Mail breaks it down.

Second, who is Mitch Lightfoot, and why aren’t Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa playing for the Kansas Jayhawks? Gary Bedore of the Kansas City Star has some answers. On Saturday, Kansas registered an 88-84 victory at TCU with Lightfoot playing a leading role.

Moving on, how did Baylor finally get its mojo back? Well, for starters, guard Manu Lecomte emerged from his shooting funk and hit a few key three-pointers as the Bears downed the Texas Longhorns, 69-60, in Waco. In addition, senior center Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. out-played UT freshman Mo Bamba. Here’s a recap from the Associated Press.

And, finally, what is going on in Lubbock? Texas Tech kept it rolling with its eighth win in a row Saturday, a 74-58 home victory over Kansas State. Carlos Silva Jr. of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal has the story. Keenan Evans scored 27 to pace the Red Raiders, 14-1, 3-0, who are tied with West Virginia for the early lead in the conference.

Best in the nation? ‘Forever’ Trae Young states his case

Oklahoma guard Trae Young just keeps stacking dominant performances, one on top of another.

You read about his exploits and you wonder if he can really be that good, and then he does it again.

After he led OU to a 91-83 victory at No. 3 Wichita State on Saturday, he stirred the discussion again.

Read a story by Taylor Eldridge in the Wichita Eagle for the latest on a player that is storming NCAA Division I basketball.

At the jbreplay.com, we will be singing the praises of “Forever” Trae Young, at least until someone figures out a way to stop him.