Devaugntah Williams is back! At least he was last night, scoring 19 points in an 85-82 win over Iowa State on Wednesday night at the United Supermarkets Arena.

With five Texas Tech players in double figures and Keenan Evans banking in a 3 from Marfa, Texas on the state outline on mid-court, the overtime win was pretty exciting at the end.

The win keeps Texas Tech (14-9, 4-7 Big 12) alive for the NCAA tournament. They still need to get to eight conference wins, which is a long shot, but in the words of Lloyd Christmas: "So you're telling me there's a chance!"

If March Madness isn't on the calendar for the Red Raiders, the NIT is certainly on the radar. With home games remaining against Kansas State and TCU, six conference wins is not unattainable. The remaining road schedule is daunting, however, with OU, Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia all left on the schedule.

I think if Tech can get to seven regular season conference wins, they are a lock for the NIT. Six regular season conference wins and a conference tournament win would probably get them in as well, but anything under that it would be a stretch for guaranteed post-season play.

The win also puts Texas Tech ahead of its win totals from 2015 and marks the second straight season the Red Raiders won an upset over Iowa State in the friendly confines of the USA.

The win also gives Texas Tech sole possession of seventh place in the Big 12 standings.

“It was a hard fought game,” Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said. “I thought our kids really battled back. Iowa State is an outstanding scoring team and shooting team even without their center. They were pretty tough. We were fortunate to get the win. I love the way our guys competed, especially down the stretch with the way we defended and the way we got stops. A lot of touch plays throughout the game. I’m excited for our kids and certainly we needed a win like this.”

Ross piled up 18 of his team-leading 20 points during the second half and overtime. He also cleared six rebounds over his career-best 40 minutes of court time.

Iowa State v Texas Tech
Getty Images - John Weast

Williams filled the box score with 19 points, five rebounds and a season-high tying four assists. The 19 points for Williams was his best scoring performance since a 23-point outburst to open Big 12 play against Texas on Jan. 2.

Evans provided 13 of his season’s best 17 points after halftime and has reached double figures in three of his last four outings. The 17 points also matched his second-best scoring effort of his career. He dialed up a long distance three-pointer off the glass just before the shot clock hit zero to give the Red Raiders the lead for good with 1:35 left in overtime.

Iowa State (17-7, 6-5 Big 12) was fueled by Deonte Burton’s career-best 20 points on a 9-for-15 shooting effort. Abdel Nader tacked on 19 points, while Georges Niang nearly compiled a double-double with 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Monte Morris and Niang were nearly deadly, catching Tech between man and zone several times until Tech finally figured it out within the last few possessions of regulation and overtime. Tech forced ISU to miss its last five shots in overtime.

With the score at 80 and two seconds on the shot clock, Gray inbounded to Evans, who took a broken play and threw up a mid-court 3-pointer that bounced in hard off the glass.

“It was a side out-of-bounds play,” Smith said. “We only had two seconds, and we were looking to throw a lob to Zach off of a back screen by Keenan. He did a good job so he was free to come get the ball. Knowing it was just two seconds left on the shot clock, it was a heck of a play. Knowing it would put us up by three, we needed something like that to happen for us. It’s happened against us a bit this year so I’m glad it was our turn.”

After a pair of free throws from both Niang and Zach Smith, the Red Raiders had a three-point lead with 18 seconds on the clock. Matt Thomas, the Cyclones 3-point specialist, got a pretty good shot past a flailing Red Raider, but clanked it off the back rim with Smith getting the rebound to seal the win.

Texas Tech men's basketball is back in action on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. against no. 21 Baylor in Waco.


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