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Texas Tech loses first game of season: Fall to Seton Hall, 89-79


Keenan Evans registered his third 20-plus point performance of the season, but the No. 22 Texas Tech men's basketball team had its six-game winning streak to start the 2016-17 campaign come to close during an 89-79 setback to Seton Hall on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

The Red Raiders (6-1) were making the program's debut at the second-annual Under Armour Reunion hosted in the Big Apple and played inside the world's most famous arena.

Texas Tech surrendered a season's best 89 points on the defensive end. The Pirates (6-1) dialed up 11 three-pointers and sank 16-of-29 from the field to claim 50 points during the second half. 

"I think in basketball, victory favors the more aggressive team," Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. "In the first half where we were playing better, I thought we were the more aggressive team. We were driving the ball, we were turning down jump shots to try to get something better. Now late in the game, it's hard to keep doing that because you have to take the first shot when you're playing come-from-behind offense. But, I think I can confidently say without watching the film, Seton Hall was more aggressive than Texas Tech tonight. We have to get that fixed."

Evans was joined by Jarrett Culver, Zach Smith, Zhaire Smith and Niem Stevenson in double figures. The quintet combined for 71 of 79 points for the Red Raiders. 

Evans pumped in 21 points, six assists and two steals. He has averaged 25.0 points per game during Tech's first three games away from Lubbock. The 21 points enabled the senior guard to surpass Eugene Carpenter and Mark Davis and move into 35th place on the program's all-time list. Evans also hit the century mark for his career in steals. 

Culver did his damage from three-point territory and knocked down a career-best five triples en route to 17 points. It marked the third consecutive game and five of his last six outings for the Lubbock native with 10-plus points. 

Zach Smith tallied all 12 of his points and two blocks during the second half. The two rejections pushed Smith to within 15 blocks of the program's all-time record held by Tony Battie.

Zhaire Smith garnered nine of his 11 points in the first half and recorded two blocks, while Stevenson notched 10 points and distributed four assists.

Norense Odiase was solid on the interior with six points and a career-high 12 rebounds. The 12 rebounds are the most for a Red Raider this season.

The Pirates were sparked by Desi Rodriguez's 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Myles Powell added 19 points, four assists and two steals. The duo combined for seven of Seton Hall's 11 treys. Khadee Carrington chipped in 16 points and three assists whereas Angel Delgado filled the stats sheet with a strong all-around effort of 12 points, five rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

Texas Tech came away with a 30-for-63 shooting effort and amassed 28 of its 40 points in the paint during the opening half. The Red Raiders were able to knock down 18 of their 32 shot attempts in the first half but closed the game going 12-for-31 after halftime. Texas Tech hit on 6-for-18 from beyond the three-point line and was 13-for-16 at the foul line.

The Pirates countered with a 30-of-59 field goal clip ignited by an 11-of-20 mark on triples. Seton Hall also converted on 18-of-26 on free throws and turned the tables on the glass with a 23-14 rebounding advantage following the intermission. 

Facing a 13-6 deficit at the 15:21 mark of the first half, Texas Tech found its rhythm behind an 11-2 run over a 2:26 span.

Zhaire Smith led the charge with a trio free throws, a driving layup where he finished with the left-hand and an explosive two-handed dunk courtesy of a Tommy Hamilton IV steal. The Red raiders took a 17-15 edge on an Evans layup where he grabbed the rebound and went coast-to-coast.

The two teams would go back-and-forth in an opening 20 minutes which featured six ties and nine lead changes.

Texas Tech crept out to a 27-23 lead with 9:04 to go on a Culver trey from the right wing coupled with an Odiase tipin off his own miss. The Red Raiders would carry a 42-39 advantage into the locker room.

Seton Hall scored on five of eight possessions to begin the second half and flipped the scoreboard in its favor to 52-49 with 16:08 left. The Pirates extended the margin to 63-55 on a Rodriguez three-ball at the 11:45 mark.

Texas Tech charged back to 65-62 with 9:41 remaining. Zach Smith soared for an acrobatic tipin through traffic, and Evans drained a three-pointer off a screen.

On the ensuing possession, Seton Hall made the most of a second-chance opportunity with a Powell three-pointer to return the advantage to six points. The Red Raiders would go the next five minutes without a field goal, and the Pirates made it a 10-point spread at 75-65 on a Carrington jumper.

"The first thing I have to talk about is how they shot the ball," Beard said. "If they shoot the ball like that with their talent and their coach, they're going to play in the second week of the tournament minimum in my opinion. I think you have to give Seton Hall a lot more credit than just making shots. They also got more free throw attempts than us and made us turn it over more than we normally do."

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