No. 23 Red Raiders rally for win over Horned Frogs

LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 23 Texas Tech found itself down 10 with seven to play before fighting back to earn an 82-81 win over TCU on Tuesday with Pop Isaacs going for 19 points and Darrion Williams, Joe Toussaint and Kerwin Walton scoring 14 each at United Supermarkets Arena.

The Red Raiders (19-7, 8-5 Big 12) avenged a road loss to the Horned Frogs (18-8, 7-6 Big 12) back on January 30 in Fort Worth in the first meeting this season and also snapped a four-game losing streak in the series. Tech trailed 69-59 when Micah Peavy made a layup with 6:55 to play but would complete its fourth comeback this season when trailing by double digits by going 24-for-28 at the free-throw line, having a season-high 10 steals, and owning a 13-7 scoring advantage off turnovers to improve to 14-1 on its home court.

“To be part of this atmosphere and have this home-court advantage is remarkable,” Texas Tech coach Grant McCasland said. “We don’t win that game if it’s not for the people in the building. I mean it. I love our team. I love our fight. I love our consistent grit.”

This season, Texas Tech has trailed Northern Iowa by 15, Kansas State by 12, and BYU by 17 in games they fought back and won. The 24 free throws made are the most in Big 12 play this season and matches the season-high set in the opener against Texas A&M-Commerce. The free throws helped offset a night where they were outrebounded by a 49-36 margin, and 21-14 on offensive rebounds. TCU also had a 44-34 scoring advantage in the paint. The Red Raiders now lead the Big 12 at 78.0 percent at the free-throw line this season and have shot over 80 percent from the line in 13 of 26 games.

Isaacs finished the game 11-for-12 at the free-throw line to lead the team in scoring for the 11th time this season despite missing all five of his 3-point attempts and going 4-for-11 from the field. He added four assists, six rebounds, and two steals in the win and is now leading the team with 16.2 points per game this season. Toussaint led Tech with seven assists and had only one turnover. He got to 14 points by going 5-for-5 at the free-throw line in a game where was 4-for-10 from the field and hit one 3-pointer. He now leads the team with 4.3 assists and a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio after his seven assists to one turnover.

“What a game by Pop and Joe,” McCasland said. “He just competed. Got to the free-throw line 12 times and made all but the first one. I thought Joe’s ability to handle the pressure and make great decisions was big. Our scrap was there. We weren’t great in a lot of areas but we found a way to win.”

Walton hit Tech’s first shot of the game with a 3-pointer and would finish the game 3-for-8 from beyond the arc in his 14-point performance, while Williams was at 14 points and seven rebounds to contribute in the win. He saw his three-game streak of double-doubles end but has now scored in double-figures in a season-best four straight games. Robert Jennings made his third start of the season in place of Warren Washington who was out for the second straight game with a foot injury. Jennings had five rebounds and two points. Chance McMillian led the reserves with nine points and added four rebounds, while KyeRon Lindsay added a season-high eight points and seven rebounds.

Emmanuel Miller and Avery Anderson III led TCU with 15 points each, while Jameer Nelson had 14 and Peavy, Essam Mostafa, and Jakobe Coles scored 10 each to give the Horned Frogs six double-figure scorers. TCU finished the game shooting 42.3 percent from the field, 5-for-19 on 3-pointers, and was 16-for-21 at the free-throw line. Peavy, who played for Tech as a freshman, added five rebounds and three assists. TCU finished the game with 12 turnovers.

Tech was tied at halftime for the first time this season at 38-38 despite trailing by as many as eight in the first half. Walton led the Red Raiders with 11 points after 20 minutes with two 3-pointers and going 3-for-3 at the free-throw line while Toussaint had 10 points, two assists, and two steals. Isaacs had six points and four rebounds and Williams was at five points and three rebounds. Walton gave Tech a 3-0 lead with a 3-pointer off a Toussaint assist on the second possession of the game and in a half where Tech was 3-for-12 from beyond the arc. The Red Raiders were also 9-for-12 at the free-throw line. TCU was 2-for-10 on 3s and 6-for-7 at the free-throw line.

Toussaint gave Tech an 11-9 lead with his second basket of the game before Isaacs made his first shot with a layup for a 13-9 lead six minutes into the game. TCU would stop the run with a 3-pointer from Anderson. The Horned Frogs took their first lead at 17-15 on a Mostafa layup before a pair of Isaacs free throws tied it. TCU would go on a run to make it 23-19 before an and-one from Toussaint cut it to one with 6:30 remaining until halftime. Three free throws from Walton cut TCU’s lead to 28-25 with five to play but Coles pushed it back to 30-25 with a layup going into the final media timeout of the half. Toussaint would hit the second 3-pointer of the half for the Rd Raiders to make it 35-28 and take Tech to 2-for-10 from beyond the arc along with giving him 10 points. Walton drilled his second 3-pointer after a McMillian layup to bring Tech to within 36-33 with two minutes until the break. Isaacs would tie the game with a pair of free throws at 38-all.

Jennings would give Tech a 40-38 lead with a second-chance basket coming out of halftime before a Nelson 3-pointer for TCU got the second half moving. TCU was on a 7-0 run before a McMillian 3-pointer in transition brought it to 45-43 four minutes into the half. Walton drilled his fourth 3-pointer to cut the Horned Frog lead to 52-48 and an Isaacs layup had it to two with 13 minutes on the clock. Tech would go on a 0-for-6 shooting stretch and trailed 60-52 until a Lindsay dunk. Williams would bury his first 3-pointer of the game but Anderson and Miller quickly responded by hitting two straight for TCU which took its first double-digit lead at 67-57 with 7:30 to play.

Tech fought back with layups from Lindsay and Isaacs to cut the margin to 69-63 with six minutes remaining before another Lindsay layup had it down to 69-65 and him up to a season-high eight points. The Red Raiders were on an 8-0 run with Isaacs hitting two free throws for a 69-67 score that was ended with a Peavy putback with three minutes left. The Red Raiders tied the game at 71-all with a dunk from Williams off an Isaacs assist that had Tech on a 12-2 run to bring the 10-point deficit to square. Isaacs would give Tech the lead back at 75-73 with two free throws with 1:27 left in the game. After TCU tied it, Isaacs went tough to the basket and converted an and-one for a 78-75 lead with 40 seconds remaining. Two free throws from Toussaint pushed Tech’s lead back to three with 21 seconds but a layup from Cole had it back to one with 14 on the clock.

Texas Tech returns to the road this weekend at UCF on Saturday afternoon in Orlando, Florida before hosting Texas next Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the USA. The Red Raiders will be looking for season sweeps of UCF and Texas after earning wins in the first matchups against them this season.

Release Provided By WES BLOOMQUIST Texas Tech Athletics

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