Keenan Evans Becomes Texas Tech Basketball Legend

LUBBOCK, TX - JANUARY 31: Keenan Evans
LUBBOCK, TX - JANUARY 31: Keenan Evans /

Keenan Evans scored a career-best 38 points on Wednesday, including the game winning jumper at the buzzer to beat Texas and become a Texas Tech basketball legend.

Michael Crabtree.  Darvin Ham.  Zach Thomas.  Daryl Dora.  Now Keenan Evans has added another legendary moment to the annals of Texas Tech athletics.

Evans’ buzzer-beating overtime game winner to beat the hated Texas Longhorns 73-71 will go down as one of the true legendary moments in program history.

Similar to Ham’s backboard shattering dunk in the 1996 NCAA Tournament or Dora’s three pointer in double overtime to beat No. 2 Kansas in 2005, Evans’ step-back jumper will forever be replayed in Texas Tech hype videos and won’t soon be forgotten by the Red Raider faithful.

Following Tech’s comeback win over South Carolina last week, we discussed why Keenan Evans is one of the best players in the nation.  In short, his penchant for putting his team on his back when he is most needed has become his hallmark and made him as important to his team as any player in the game.

Against the Longhorns, he took his game and his heroics to yet another level.

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However, unlike in Evan’s other heroic performances this year (against Nevada, Oklahoma State and South Carolina) he was not charged with helping the Red Raiders claw back from a large deficit.  Rather, he had to play hero after the Red Raiders blew a 13 point second half lead.

On a night when no other Red Raider scored in double figures, Evans was a force whose 38 points comprised 52% of his team’s offensive output.  But there was a moment when the hero could have become a goat.

After Evans hit three consecutive free throws to bring Tech to within one at 64-63 inside of a minute to play, Evans found himself at the line again with just 3 second left and with the opportunity to win the game.

The senior guard was terrific at the foul line on the evening going 18-20.  But of course, his second miss of the game happened with the score tied at 64 giving the Longhorns new life in overtime.

With Texas center Mo Bamba on the bench after fouling out, Tech controlled play in overtime.  Four quick Keenan Evans points set the tone as the Red Raiders built a 70-65 lead.

But Texas guard Kerwin Roach hit two deep threes (the second of which banked off the backboard from the top of the key) to tie the game setting the stage for Evan’s legendary moment.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard did not call time out.  He felt comfortable with the ball in Evans’ hands.  With 12 seconds left, Evans calmly walked the ball down court as if the possession were the first of the game.  There was never a hint of panic or hurry in his carriage despite the breathless nerves of the 15,098 fans in attendance.

Next: Why Keenan Evans Is One Of the Nation's Elite Players

Waiting until there was only 3.5 seconds left to make his move, Evans made sure his shot would be the final possession in overtime.  And in a play eerily reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s jump shot to clinch the 1998 NBA finals for the Chicago Bulls, Evans drove to his right and pulled up in the face of the defender to bury the shot.