LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech found itself in yet another another tight conference game. This time the Red Raiders were able to pull out the victory.
De’Vion Harmon scored 20 points, including a crucial driving basket in the final minute, as Texas Tech upended No. 12-ranked Kansas State 71-63 on Saturday night.
“I missed like my first six shots,” Harmon said. “But the coaches and my teammates had confidence in me and told me to continue being aggressive. It was a good team win.”
Victories have been elusive for the Red Raiders since the start of conference play. Tech has been in most of its league games, but has fallen short down the stretch with the latest example coming Wednesday on the road against Oklahoma State as Tech gave up a three-point play as time expired and lost 71-68.
It was a different story against the Wildcats, though. Tech took the lead in the final minutes of the first half and never relinquished it, despite Kansas State pulling within one point on four occasions and two points two other times during the final 10 minutes.
“I think that speaks volumes for this team,” Tech head coach Mark Adams said. “We’ve been in this situation many, many times. We know we want to win, but we haven’t been able to. We just kept encouraging these guys to stay aggressive, make plays and have no regrets.”
The Red Raiders (13-12, 2-10 Big 12) held the Wildcats to two field goals in the game’s final four minutes as they extended a 62-61 lead at the 2:15 mark.
Jaylon Tyson added another huge basket for Tech with a tip-in that pushed the advantage to 64-61, setting the stage for Harmon’s slashing drive between defenders as the Red Raiders rebounded from a last-second road loss to Oklahoma State.
Kevin Obanor added four free throws in the final 37 seconds and Harmon converted one of two as Tech held off the Wildcats, who got only a pair of free throws and layup from Markquis Nowell in the final two plus minutes.
“I was disappointed that we gave the ball away as many times as we did,” Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang said of his team’s 23-turnover night. “Texas Tech gets credit for that, but it’s also us not being tough enough.”
Kansas State (19-6, 7-5) edged as close as one point throughout the second half, but Tech answered with key baskets to maintain the lead. The Wildcats were led by Nowell’s 18 points. Desi Sills added 12 points.
The Red Raider defense limited Kansas State guard Keyontae Johnson, who had been averaging 18 points per game, to just nine points.
“He picked a bad night to have a bad night,” Tang said.
Lamar Washington added 13 points for Texas Tech while Tyson and Obanor contributed 11 and 10, respectively.
The Red Raiders took control in the final moments of the first half, outscoring the Wildcats 10-1 in the final moments and turning a 25-23 deficit into a 33-26 advantage. Harmon sparked the flurry, scoring seven of his nine first-half points.
Kansas State had claimed the 25-23 lead on a layup by Sills, but Tech responded quickly as Harmon converted a 3-pointer, a driving basket and a shot from the corner, and Jaylon Tyson added a 3-pointer.
Kansas State struggled from the field throughout the game. The Wildcats converted just under 35 percent of their shots in the first half, including 3 of 12 from 3-point range. The woes continued after intermission with the Wildcats finishing 19 of 54 overall (35.2 percent) and 6 of 26 from beyond the 3-point arc. Between the turnovers and the cold shooting night, the Wildcats were unable to overcome the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech knocked off its second nationally ranked opponent on its home floor with its most complete effort this season against a Big 12 foe. The Raiders took the lead late in the first half, forcing 14 Wildcat turnovers, and led the rest of the way. Overall, the Tech defense harassed Kansas State into 23 turnovers, leading to a handful of transition baskets and keeping Tech in front.
Kansas State is back on the road at 8 p.m. Tuesday against Oklahoma.
Texas Tech will host its second consecutive nationally ranked foe, battling No. 5 Texas on Monday.