WACO, Texas (AP) Tubby Smith's young players at Texas Tech are maturing and starting to win big games.
For the first time since January 2007, the Red Raiders have consecutive victories over Top 25 teams after upsetting No. 21 Baylor 84-66 on Saturday night.
Keenan Evans scored a career-high 21 points and had two steals that led to consecutive baskets by Justin Gray in a go-ahead run. Gray finished with 17 points and Zach Smith, the other one of Tech's trio of sophomore starters, added 16.
''Whether it's Top 25 or not, we're getting better,'' said Tubby Smith, in his third season as Texas Tech coach. ''Our players are maturing and starting to understand, and they're experienced enough to know what we needed to do in order to win. ... They're getting stronger, and getting smarter and getting better.''
Coming off an 85-82 overtime victory against No. 14 Iowa State at home, the Red Raiders (15-9, 5-7 Big 12) blew an early 10-point lead against Baylor. But they went ahead to stay in the second half after Gray made a tiebreaking layup with just under 17 minutes left to start a 10-0 spurt, then had a breakaway dunk and a jumper after steals by Evans.
''I know it can be a grind for these guys with me on them every day,'' Tubby Smith said with a chuckle. ''But this is the payoff.''
Aaron Ross added 14 points for the Red Raiders. Evans, Gray and Zach Smith were a combined 18-of-25 shooting.
''I hope that this game, it goes into the next game after this,'' Evans said.
Taurean Prince had 17 points to lead Baylor (18-7, 7-5), which dropped two games behind Big 12 co-leaders Kansas and West Virginia. Lester Medford had 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting, and Johnathan Motley's 10 points included the Bears' last two baskets.
Medford's buzzer-beating 3-pointer on Jan. 16 gave Baylor a 63-60 win at Texas Tech, but the Bears have lost their last three Big 12 home games.
''I'm a senior and it's my last go-round, so I have to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself,'' Prince said. ''Got to make sure the guys have short-term memory loss and come back to practice working hard and have the same expectations every game and not get down on yourself because we lost at home.''
FAST START, THEN SUDDEN STOP
Gray's 3-pointer with 13:58 left in the first half put the Red Raiders up 14-4. Then they went nearly 6 1/2 minutes before making another field goal.
Baylor scored 10 points in a row in less than 2 minutes, with Prince's 3 starting the run that was capped by his driving layup after King McClure's steal. Those baskets sandwiched a 3 by Medford, who also had a steal that led to a layup by McClure. The Red Raiders had five turnovers with two missed shots in their long drought, but were down only 20-19 after Evans' 3.
Texas Tech: The last time Texas Tech had consecutive wins against Top 25 teams was a victory over No. 5 Kansas on Jan. 20, 2007, followed four days later with a win over No. 6 Texas A&M. ... The Red Raiders were swept in the season series by Baylor five of the previous eight years.
Baylor: Rico Gathers, back after missing the previous game because of illness, had seven points and nine rebounds. He was ejected with 1:46 left after a flagrant foul. ... The Bears were trying to get to 8-4 in Big 12 play. They have won eight of their first 12 Big 12 games only once in the league's 20 seasons, back in 2012.
Texas Tech hosts No. 3 Oklahoma on Wednesday night.
Baylor hosts No. 14 Iowa State on Tuesday night.