Texas Tech held on late to set up a date with Villanova in the Elite Eight on Sunday.

By Khadrice Rollins
March 24, 2018

Texas Tech earned a 78–65 win over Purdue in an East Region Sweet 16 matchup Friday to earn a berth to the Elite Eight to face No. 1-seed Villanova on Sunday.

The teams kept it close in the opening minutes of the games, with the No. 2-seed Boilermakers only building their lead up to seven points before the No. 3-seed Red Raiders tied it up at 15 about halfway through the opening half.

From there, the squads went on a nearly six-minute scoring drought that included six turnovers.

After P.J. Thompson put Purdue up 25–20 with just less than four minutes remaining in the first, Texas Tech rallied off a 10–0 run to take a five-point lead into the break.

In the second half, Zhaire Smith started to take over for the Red Raiders, scoring nine points and collecting three rebounds, a steal, a block and an assist before the under-12 timeout. As Texas Tech started to establish a lead, Tommy Hamilton IV knocked down a three and assisted a Niem Stevenson dunk to create a 50-41 advantage.

While the bulk of Purdue struggled after the half, Carsen Edwards elevated his game to keep the team afloat. He scored 18 points during an 11-minute stretch to to pull the score to 58–55 with just less than six minutes left in the game.

However, after that point, the Red Raiders took full control of the contest and used a 20–7 run to extend their lead to as much as 16 and earn their first Elite Eight appearance in program history.

The Boilermakers were playing their second consecutive game without senior center Isaac Haas, who fractured his right elbowing in their first-round win over No. 15-seed CSU Fullerton. Without him, Purdue relied on heavily on Edwards, who finished with 30 points on the night. Vincent Edwards and Thompson had 12 points and 10 points, respectively, and were the only Purdue players with more than four points.

For Texas Tech, four players scored in double figures, with senior Kennan Evans leading the way with 16. Zach Smith chipped in 14 off the bench while Zhaire Smith finished with 13 and Justin Gray put up 12 points and seven boards.

Texas Tech will face Villanova at 2:20 p.m. ET on CBS on Sunday in Boston with a trip to the Final Four in San Antonio on the line.

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