Isaacs scores 22 as No. 25 Texas Tech holds off No. 20 BYU for 81-67 Big 12 quarterfinal win

Thu, Mar 14, 2024
NCAAB News (AP)

Isaacs scores 22 as No. 25 Texas Tech holds off No. 20 BYU for 81-67 Big 12 quarterfinal win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Pop Isaacs scored 22 points, Chance McMillian added 17 points and eight rebounds and No. 25 Texas Tech withstood a furious second-half rally by No. 20 BYU for an 81-67 victory in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday.

Kerwin Walton added 12 points and Robert Jennings and Joe Toussaint had 10 apiece for No. 4 seed Red Raiders (23-9), who led by as many as 23 in the first half before the Cougars (23-10) embarked on a 15-0 second-half run to make it interesting.

Jaxson Robinson hit a pair of 3-pointers before two free throws from Richie Saunders got the Big 12 newcomers within 62-55 with 5:04 to go. But unperturbed, Toussaint answered with a 3 for Texas Tech, and when Trevin Knell's answering 3 rimmed out, Darrion Williams added another to give coach Grant McCasland's team some breathing room.

The Red Raiders advanced from there into a semifinal matchup with No. 1 Houston or TCU on Friday night.

Robinson finished with 22 points to lead the Cougars, who shot 14 of 30 from the 3-point arc in a second-round win over UCF but were just 7 of 35 against Texas Tech. Fousseyni Traore finished with 13 points and Saunders had 12.

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Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid watched courtside at T-Mobile Center, trading his familiar red windbreaker for a white and blue one carrying a BYU logo. Reid graduated from there in 1981 and began his career with the Cougars under Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards in 1982. He still speaks fondly of those years spent in Provo, Utah.

"Big Red" - err, "Big Blue" in this case - didn't have a whole lot to cheer about most of the day.

Texas Tech raced to a 12-2 start, then put some distance on the Cougars by outscoring them 17-4 midway through the first half. Many of its baskets came after offensive rebounds, including a crushing 3 by Walton following a missed free throw, while cold-shooting BYU continually clanked just about every shot it took at the other end of the floor.

At one point, one of the nation's prolific 3-point shooting teams missed 12 straight shots during a 1-for-19 slump.

Probably to the delight of Reid's quarterback - and noted Texas Tech alum - Patrick Mahomes.

Isaacs led the way for the Red Raiders, just as he did in January, when he scored 23 of his 32 points in the second half to help them rally from a 16-point deficit in Lubbock. The second-team All-Big 12 guard buried a trio of 3s and had 15 points at the break, then helped his teammates make enough plays in the second half to absorb the Cougars' big run.

UP NEXT

BYU will return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2021, likely as the No. 5 or 6 seed.

Texas Tech was routed by Houston in January and split regular-season games with TCU, with each winning at home.

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