LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Keenan Evans scored 23 points and No. 12 Texas Tech stopped a four-game losing streak with a 79-75 win over TCU in a Big 12 regular-season finale on Saturday.
Evans had his first double-digit scoring game since a toe injury that sidelined him at halftime of a loss to Baylor that started the skid when the Red Raiders (23-8, 11-7) were in sole possession of the Big 12 lead.
Desmond Bane scored 21 points for the Horned Frogs (21-10, 9-9), who had their first four-game conference winning streak in 20 years stopped. The late-season surge put TCU in good shape for its first NCAA Tournament berth since going 14-0 in the Western Athletic Conference in 1997-98.
With Texas Tech leading by two in the final 2 minutes, Evans hit a layup before Justin Gray and Zhaire Smith each hit a free throw for a six-point lead with 20 seconds to go.
Evans was 6 of 11 from the field and made all 10 free throws. The senior guard scored in single digits three straight games, including the one in which he was injured, before sitting out Monday’s loss at No. 20 West Virginia.
The Red Raiders and Mountaineers finished tied for second in the Big 12.
Smith had 15 points and five rebounds, and Niem Stevenson scored 11 points.
Vladimir Brodziansky had 16 points and 10 rebounds for TCU, and Kenrich Williams scored 11 with 10 boards for his 12th double-double of the season. Alex Robinson had 11 points.
The Horned Frogs led by 10 late in the first half, but the Red Raiders finished on a 6-1 run to get within 40-35. A 12-5 run early in the second half pulled Texas Tech even, and the Red Raiders took their first lead on a layup by Smith with 13:25 remaining.
TCU: The Horned Frogs matched their lowest shooting percentage of the season (40 percent) and have had three straight cold-shooting halves going back to the home win over Kansas State that solidified their NCAA hopes. In the three previous games, TCU shot at least 54 percent each time. The Horned Frogs shot 22 percent from 3.
Texas Tech: Evans’ best game since the injury is a huge boost for the postseason hopes of the Red Raiders. Perhaps the game of rest made the difference needed for Evans to be a big factor again, which is a must if Texas Tech wants to make an NCAA run. Coach Chris Beard is still limiting his minutes. He scored 23 in just 26 minutes.
Big 12 Tournament. TCU, which finished alone in fifth place, will get a first-round bye along with Texas Tech. Both teams will play Thursday.