Texas Tech Grinds Out Win Against Florida to Advance to Sweet Sixteen
For the first time since 2005, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Saturday night, the #3 Red Raiders outlasted the #6 Florida Gators 69-66 in an East Region Second Round Game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The differences in the game was Texas Tech advancing to the foul line early in the second half and not abandoning the inside game on offense.
In a 10-minute stretch, starting at the 13:35 mark of the second half, Texas Tech scored 19 points and they all came from either lay-ups or free throws. Conversely for Florida within that same stretch, the Gators missed four consecutive three-point shots from the 10:03 mark to the 8:19 mark of the second half.
Despite Texas Tech being able to put some distance between themselves and the Gators halfway in the second half, Florida responded with a 9-4 run to tie the game at 64 with three minutes to play.
Keenan Evans led the Red Raiders with 22 points, including a crucial three-pointer with 2:35 left in the game that broke a 64-64 tie.
Zhaire Smith was second on the Red Raiders in scoring with 18 points and nine rebounds. Jarrett Culver also grabbed nine rebounds, chipped in four assists and scored 11 points.
The Gators weak three-point shooting hurt their comeback chances in the second half. For the game they went 6/22 (27.3%) from beyond-the-arc, and overall 25/63 (39.7%) from the field.
Texas Tech's free throw shooting was also subpar, with the Red Raiders only making 50% of their 14 free throws.
With Saturday's win, the Red Raiders advance to the Sweet Sixteen in the East Region. Next Friday, March 23, they will play the winner of Purdue vs Butler in Boston, at TD Garden.