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Keenan Evans helps Texas Tech knock off No. 21 Baylor

By The Sports Xchange   |   Feb. 14, 2016 at 12:18 AM

WACO, Texas -- Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said his team is getting better, but he's not predicting how far the Red Raiders will go.

The Red Raiders took a step toward the NCAA Tournament as they went on the road to defeat No. 21 Baylor, 84-66, on Saturday night at the Ferrell Center.

Guard Keenan Evans led Texas Tech (15-9, 5-7 Big 12) with 21 points and forwards Justin Gray and Zach Smith scored 17 and 16 respectively as the Red Raiders won their second straight game over a top 25 opponent.

"Whether it's top 25 or not, we're getting better," Tubby Smith said. "We continue to improve. Our players are maturing, they're starting to understand and they're experienced enough to know what we need to do to win."

Evans hit a 40-foot bank-in 3-pointer in overtime to help lift Texas Tech over No 14 Iowa State on Wednesday.

He carried that momentum into the Baylor game as he hit a pair of key 3-pointers in the second half and completed a 3-point play. He also finished with five assists and four steals.

"I'm just trying to be more aggressive overall for my teammates, find them and get them going as well," Evans said. "This game I hope goes into the next game after this."

Texas Tech handed Baylor (18-7, 7-5) its third straight home loss in Big 12 play.

The Bears previously dropped home games against Oklahoma and Texas and failed to hold serve at home again despite forward Taurean Prince scoring 17 points.

Prince said it's up to Baylor's veteran players to stop the home losing streak.

"That goes on your seniors," he said. "You have to get guys minds right before games. So I'll take the blame for that."

Baylor coach Scott Drew received a technical foul with 3:25 left. Gray was already shooting technical foul free throws after Baylor forward Ishmail Wainright fouled him hard on a dunk attempt.

Gray hit one of two free throws and forward Aaron Ross, who finished with 14 points, followed with two more made free throws to put Texas Tech ahead 74-58 with 3:25 left.

Baylor forward Rico Gathers was called for a flagrant foul and ejected from the game with 1:46 to go. He finished with seven points and nine rebounds.

"I wish we'd have done some things different," Drew said. "As far as me, my technical, I deserved it."

Texas Tech used a 15-3 run midway through the second half to stretch a 12-point lead on Smith's dunk with 11:56 remaining. Smith and Gray each contributed six points to the surge.

The Red Raiders remained in control and widened the lead to 18 points when Evans made two free throws with 9:08 left.

"We were playing under control," Tubby Smith said. "We were really defending well, making the proper rotation, the proper traps, limiting them to one shot."

Texas Tech grabbed an early 10-point lead when Gray hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 13:58 left in the first half.

Baylor responded immediately with a 10-0 run to tie it at 14. Prince made a 3-pointer on the Bears' next trip down the floor after Gray's 3-pointer.

Baylor guard Lester Medford followed with a 3-pointer, then guard King McClure made a layup and Prince tied it with a fast-break layup with 12:03 remaining before halftime.

Texas Tech went more than six minutes without a field goal, allowing Baylor to pull ahead 20-16 when Medford finished a fast break with a layup with 8:04 left.

Prince scored 12 first-half points, including going high to catch and send home an alley-oop from Medford, and a 3-pointer that put Baylor ahead 32-30 with 1:37 left before halftime.

But Texas Tech kept pace and forward Aaron Ross hit a 3-pointer that put the Red Raiders ahead 33-32 at the break. Texas Tech hit 5 of 9 shots from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.

NOTES: Baylor G Lester Medford hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Bears to a 63-60 win over Texas Tech earlier this season in Lubbock. The win gave Baylor four straight against the Red Raiders, tying its longest streak in the series. ... Baylor F Rico Gathers is second in program history with 31 career double-doubles, but he has now gone 10 games without a double-double. ... Texas Tech F Aaron Ross entered the game averaging 9.6 points per game, but he has had an uptick in production lately. He scored in double digits four straight games coming into Saturday, including 20 in the Red Raiders' win over No. 14 Iowa State on Wednesday.

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