Texas Tech Point Guard Keenan Evans Day-To-Day With Toe Injury

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

Texas Tech point guard Keenan Evans is listed as day-to-day after leaving Saturday’s loss to Baylor with a toe injury.

The Texas Tech basketball team came face-to-face with its worst nightmare on Saturday night.  After sustaining a toe injury late in the first half, point guard Keenan Evans missed the rest of the contest forcing the Red Raiders to play without their leading scorer.  The result was a 59-57 loss to Baylor but fortunately, the result of the x-rays on Evans’ toe was not as disheartening.

On Monday, Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard shared with the media that Evans’ toe is not broken and that the Big 12’s second-leading scorer is considered day-to-day.

This news came as a relief to Texas Tech fans everywhere who spent two days speculating what life would be like without Evans.  If Saturday night was any indication, fans had reason to worry.

Without Evans, Tech mustered just 22 points in the second half Saturday in Waco. Tech hit just nine shots in the final 20 minutes and ended the game on a 3-minute scoreless drought.

Another telling statistic was the fact that Tech committed 18 turnovers on the night despite playing against Baylor’s 2-3 zone defense which is designed to sit back and force long jump shots rather than pressuring the ball.

Of course, Evans’ absence also made life for his teammates far more difficult.  Texas Tech’s second-leading scorer, Jarrett Culver had arguably his worst game of the year shooting just 3-16 from the field.  He was also a mere 1-5 from three-point range including a miss on a potential game winning three with 10 seconds to play.

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It was evident that the Red Raiders were lost offensively without their leader.  Down the stretch, Texas Tech had a plethora of disjointed possessions in which the team settled for contested jumpers as the shot clock expired.  Evans’ ability to drive the ball into the lane was sorely lacking in crunch time.  With Evans’ knack for getting to the rim not an option, Texas Tech shot 11 fewer foul shots than Baylor and the Bears were a plus-six on points from the foul line.

Fortunately, Texas Tech looks to have dodged a second major foot injury to a senior star in 2018.  With preseason All-Big 12 selection Zach Smith missing the last 12 games due to a broken foot, the Red Raiders have had to adjust to life without a key player once already this season.

Fans feared that doing so for a second time this year might be more than the Red Raiders could overcome.  However, that does not appear to be in store again.

Beard said that Evans’ return will depend on just how much discomfort he can tolerate.  He did not  even rule out Evans for Wednesday night’s road game at Oklahoma State.  However, most are pointing towards Saturday afternoon’s showdown with Kansas as the hopeful target for Evans return.

Tech hosts the Jayhawks with first place in the Big 12 on the line.  The game is sold out and ESPN’s “College Gameday” will be broadcasting from the United Supermarkets Arena for the first time.  It is a golden opportunity for the Red Raiders to take hold of the conference race and potentially be the team to end the Jayhawks’ run of 13-consecutive Big 12 titles.

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However, that prospect seems highly unlikely without Evans as does any potential NCAA Tournament run.  But after Saturday’s scare, it now appears that Keenan Evans is still going to be a huge part of the Red Raiders’ fate this season and as such, there is renewed optimism that the Red Raiders could have a special finish to this historic year.