LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – Keenan Evans scored 15 points, Norense Odiase and Justin Gray had 12 apiece, and No. 18 Texas Tech never trailed in beating No. 10 Kansas 85-73 on Tuesday night for the Red Raiders’ first win at Allen Fieldhouse in 18 tries.
The Red Raiders (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) built a 16-point lead midway through the first half, then found an answer every time the 3-point-dependent Jayhawks (11-3, 1-1) tried to mount a second-half charge.
Zach Smith had 11 points and Jarrett Culver contributed 10 for Texas Tech, which has won its first two Big 12 games for the first time in a decade. The Red Raiders also snapped a four-game skid in league road openers by winning their seventh straight game in the toughest of venues.
Devonte Graham led the Jayhawks with 27 points, but a lot of that came at the foul line, where he was 13 of 13. The senior guard struggled from the field, just like the rest of his team – they were 6 of 26 from beyond the arc and missed all 12 of their 3-point attempts in the second half.
Svi Mykhailiuk had 11 points for Kansas before fouling out. Udoka Azubuike also scored 11.
The loss snapped the Jayhawks’ 16-game win streak against Texas Tech, and gave coach Bill Self’s team two losses in the Phog in the same season for the first time since 2006-07.
Everything went Texas Tech’s way in the first half – every loose ball, rebound and extra possession – and coach Chris Beard’s team began to grow in confidence with each passing minute.
Two sequences in particular summed up the first 20 minutes.
The first came when the Red Raiders scored a bucket inside, stole Mykhailiuk’s inbounds pass and buried a 3-pointer for a five-point jolt that silenced the sellout crowd in a matter of seconds. The second came when Zhaire Smith scored with 13 seconds left before the break, and the Jayhawks flubbed the inbounds, forcing them to rush a shot at the other end before the buzzer sounded.
Self was so steamed by that play that he was poised to slam his fist into the scorer’s table. He thought better of it and took his angst to the locker room instead.
Even though Evans was struggling with his shot, the Red Raiders kept answering Kansas, even when Self reluctantly turned to a zone. They merely dumped it inside to Odiase and Tommy Hamilton IV for easy baskets that kept their advantage in double digits much of the second half.
The Jayhawks trimmed the lead to 67-61 with about 5 minutes left, but Malik Newman missed an ill-advised 3-pointer and Azubuike turned the ball over to squander a chance to get closer.
The teams began trading free throws down the stretch, and even though Graham was perfect from the stripe, the Red Raiders were good enough to keep the Jayhawks at arm’s length.
Texas Tech has staked a claim through two games for Big 12 superiority. The Red Raiders routed then-No. 18 Baylor 77-53 in their conference opener last Friday, giving them a pair of wins over teams that were expected to contend for the title this season.
Kansas fell in love with the 3-pointer again with ugly results. The Jayhawks are among the best in the nation when their shot is falling, but their lack of interior depth gives them little to fall back on when the jumpers start bouncing off the iron.
Texas Tech faces Kansas State on Saturday.
Kansas visits No. 16 TCU on Saturday night.