Kansas Uses Last Second Lay-Up to Edge Out Red Raiders
In what has become an almost-annual tradition at the United Spirit Arena, the Texas Tech Red Raiders played the #8 Kansas Jayhawks to the brink of a win (or loss depending on your perspective).
KU’s Andrew Wiggins broke free along the baseline for the game-winning lay-up with 1.6 second left to give Kansas a 64-63 win over Texas Tech. Wiggins ended up leading the Jayhawks with 19 points and 6 rebounds in the win.
Red Raider head coach Tubby Smith said his team played hard, “It was a tough game to lose and I thought our kids played with heart and mental toughness. We’ve been working to get them to do for sometime. But, good teams like his make plays in the end; great players make plays like that. The ball just didn’t bounce our way at the end.”
Other than one brief stretch in the first half, Texas Tech played Kansas tight throughout the game. Jayhawks head coach Bill Self talked about escaping Lubbock with a win, “We had a couple guys not play their best, had a couple freshman play well,” Self said. “I thought Tubby’s team did a great job scoring under the clock, I don’t know how many (shots) they made with under five seconds. I thought they did a good job controlling tempo. We were fortunate we won. In a game where both teams guarded well, it came down to the end and fortunately we had the ball last.”
Kansas’ largest lead of the contest was a 10-point lead, 17-7 with 13:50 left in the first half. The Red Raiders chopped the deficit down to one at halftime, down 30-29.
The Red Raiders first lead of the second half came off of their opening possession, a Robert Turner jumper putting Tech ahead 31-30. Tuner finished the game as one of five Red Raiders scoring in double digits; he had 11 points. The Red Raiders pushed the lead out to five, 37-32, but a 7-2 KU run then tied the game again at 39.
Three possessions later, Jamal Williams three-pointer for the Red Raiders extended another lead out to four at 45-41. But the lead was short-lived, as two minutes later at the 10:45 mark, a set of Joel Embiid free throws gave the Jayhawks a 46-45 lead.
The scoring see-sawed back-and-forth again with a three-point Texas Tech lead getting erased when two Naadir Tharpe free throws put Kansas up 52-51 with 7:14 left.
Kansas’ time at the free throw line became a point of consternation for the Red Raiders faithful. Kansas ended up going 22/30 on free throws, while Texas Tech made a paltry 6/12.
After the game, Smith was mostly diplomatic about the free throw disparity, “The officials—well they’re apart of the game. The only call that really concerned me was right there at the end, that jump ball. I felt Jaye (Crockett) got fouled on the jump shot, then we get the loose ball rebound and then they call a jump ball. Otherwise it is the way it is. We have some real knit-picky fouls too.”
With five minutes left in the game, the score was tied at 55. A Crockett jumper put Tech up 57-55 thirty seconds later. The teams then exchanged missed shots and a foul by KU’s Embiid gave the Red Raiders the ball with 3:27 left in the game.
After the media timeout, the Red Raiders milked the shot clock down to two seconds left when Jaye Crockett’s inside shot was blocked by Wiggins. Luckily, for the Red Raiders, the ball bounced their way. Five seconds later Jordan Tolbert made a mid-range shot that put the Red Raiders up by four, 59-55. It ended up being the Red Raiders last two-possession lead of the game.
The Jayhawks responded immediately on their next possession with a Wayne Selden, Jr. three-pointer, cutting the lead down to 59-58. When the basket was made you could hear the air go out-of-the-sails of the United Spirit Arena crowd.
Four consecutive points by Embiid, a dunk and two free throws, swung the momentum , and the lead, back to Kansas with 31 seconds left in the game.
Down by one, 62-61, Turner drove down the left side of the lane and got fouled by Embiid. Turner made both of his free throws flipping the lead to 63-62 in favor of the Red Raiders with 16 seconds left. However, that ended up being too much time left in the game as the Red Raider defense was unable to stop Wiggins from making the game-winning shot on the possession.
Crockett said the increased fan support at this season’s games has been noticed, “We are really getting the school into Tech basketball, especially because there really is a focus on football here. The students are getting into it and the community is coming, but you have to win and that is what is going to draw people in. They are helping us win these games and having close games like tonight. They bring so much energy and that is the sixth man on the court when they are yelling and going crazy.”
Tolbert led the Red Raiders in scoring with 16 points and 6 rebounds in 36 minutes on the court. Dusty Hannahs scored 10 points off the bench, Dejan Kravic finished with 13 points on 6/8 shooting and Crockett scored 10 points.
Texas Tech’s next game is Saturday at Oklahoma State. It will be Marcus Smart’s first game for the Cowboys after his suspension for pushing a Texas Tech fan.
Tuesday’s crowd of 12,667 was the second largest of the season for the Red Raiders. It was the 35th largest crowd in United Spirit Arena history. Also, there were 4,338 students in attendance, a new student attendance record.
Kansas became the first team this season to beat Texas Tech when leading with 5:00 to play. Prior to the Jayhawks’ comeback, the Red Raiders were 12-0 when leading with five minutes remaining.