Evans' buzzer-beater downs Longhorns in overtime, 73-71


Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Texas Tech senior point guard Keenan Evans concluded his dribble and launched a pull-up jumper from the top of the key, sailing right over the outreached arm of junior guard Kerwin Roach II.

The contested shot rose into the air and crawled toward the rim before the buzzer sounded in overtime. When it fell, it drained right through the net and teammates mobbed Evans as the Longhorns’ hearts were ripped out of their chests.

Another road game, another heartbreak. Texas Tech 73, Texas 71.

The 2017–18 season hit another roadblock for the Longhorns (14–8, 4–5 Big 12) on Wednesday night in Lubbock.

There was no time left for Texas to respond following Evans’ game-winning shot, but the Longhorns responded to plenty of shots taken at them all night. Down 13 in the second half, the Longhorns could have mailed in another ugly road defeat. Instead, Texas’ defense held the Red Raiders to a sequence where they shot 1-of-10 from the hardwood.

Then, success from the free throw line and two consecutive threes by junior guard Eric Davis Jr. sliced Texas Tech’s lead to 55-53 with under seven minutes to go. A possession later, freshman point guard Matt Coleman tied it up with an impressive step-back jumper. A Texas steal followed by a fast-break slam from freshman shooting guard Jase Febres vaulted the Longhorns ahead with about four minutes left to obtain their first lead since early in the first half. Texas’ advantage was short lived, though.

Texas Tech tied the game on a last-second drive to the basket by Evans at the end of regulation. On a game-changing call, freshman center Mo Bamba was called for a foul as Evans forced a right-handed layup. The Red Raiders’ point guard sunk the first free throw, but his second clanked off the iron. Texas’ airballed half-court shot forced overtime.

In overtime, Texas never captured a lead. The Longhorns played without three key contributors — Bamba, Febres and Coleman — who all fouled out in regulation. But the Longhorns continued to show the composure and perseverance they demonstrated all night, clawing back from each deficit Texas Tech created. Roach drained consecutive threes in the extended period — one with 1:54 left and one that banked in to tie the game and amplify the intensity with just 12 seconds remaining before Evans’ heroics at the buzzer.

Bamba faced size mismatches against smaller Texas Tech lineups, but he wasn’t fed often in the post and his usage rate plummeted. The freshman put up just one shot in the opening half and four the entire game. He left the game briefly with a leg injury after a collision with Davis early in the second half.

The center recorded his 93rd block of the season as one of his seven rejections, shattering Chris Owens’ program record from the 2000–01 campaign. Bamba exited with his 11th double-double of the year, connecting on all four of his limited field goal attempts.

Evans torched Texas head coach Shaka Smart’s defense with 38 points and earning 20 free throw attempts by drawing plenty of contact. The Red Raiders’ star was unstoppable, scoring at will on his drives to the paint while exposing Texas’ help defense down low. Evans put the perfect exclamation point on the night with his game-winning dagger. It was a fitting end given the offensive fireworks he brought for all 45 minutes in Lubbock.