It was tied 37-37 at halftime, and it was tied 78-78 at the end of regulation. But in the end, Texas Tech outlasted No. 14 Iowa State, 85-82, in overtime in Lubbock on Wednesday.
“We wanted to try to wear them down,” Texas Tech’s coach Tubby Smith said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Obviously they’re without Jameel McKay, their center, but I thought our kids stepped up and did what they had to do, especially with the stops in overtime. They were lighting us up offensively, but we were able to quit them down in overtime.”
Indeed, Iowa State (17-7, 6-5) shot 54.7 percent from the floor but scored just four points in overtime. Texas Tech scored just seven points in overtime, but had a balanced attack throughout the evening. Five Red Raiders finished in double figures, including Aaron Ross and Devaugntah Williams, who led the way with 20 and 19 points, respectively, off the bench. Keenan Evans scored 17, Justin Gray had 15 and Zach Smith added 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
“It’s the first time we’ve had five guys in double figures in awhile,” Smith said. “So we’re really pleased with our effort tonight. Our kids stepped up.”
Texas Tech (14-9, 4-7) has been competitive in many of its games this year. The Red Raiders lost at then-No. 6 West Virginia, 80-76, on Jan. 23, and three of their last four games have gone to overtime.
“We’ve played well all year long,” Smith said. “We only played one bad game. That was a tough loss at Oklahoma, but you see how good they are. We’ve really been in most games. We didn’t play well at Kansas State, but I like the way we’re playing now.
The Red Raiders have another tough test this weekend. They play No. 21 Baylor (18-6, 7-4) on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET before hosting a rematch with No. 3 Oklahoma (20-3, 8-3) on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Smith said. “This is by far the toughest league, hands down, in the country. It’s not even close. And when it’s a round robin like this and you have a true champion, there’s no let-up. Every team in this league, you better come ready to play.”