Top Five Texas Tech Basketball Games of 2017-18 Season

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 23: Keenan Evans
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 23: Keenan Evans /
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DALLAS, TX – MARCH 17: Zhaire Smith
DALLAS, TX – MARCH 17: Zhaire Smith /

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament was arguably the most special weekend in Texas Tech basketball history.  For the first time, the Red Raiders played their NCAA tournament games in Dallas, home to the largest Texas Tech alumni and fanbase in the world.  And the DFW Red Raiders did not disappoint.

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Selling out the massive American Airlines Center, Red Raider fans turned the home of the Dallas Mavericks into the east wing of United Super Markets Arena.  And that support was a huge boost when Tech took on a tough Florida team in round two.

The game felt like a heavyweight fight with both teams trading blows throughout.  The game featured six ties and eleven lead changes and ended with one of the most exciting final minutes in Texas Tech history.

Clinging to a three-point lead, thanks to a Keenan Evans three with 2:35 to play, Evans and Zhaire Smith connected on a beautiful alley-oop that gave Tech a 69-64 lead with 0:32 to go and sent the Texas Tech crowd into a frenzy.

But a quick layup for Florida and a steal of Keenan Evans on the ensuing inbounds (which could have easily been called a foul) set up the Gators with a golden opportunity to tie the game.  But Florida missed two wide-open threes and Texas Tech advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 13 years.

In many ways, this game (and the entire weekend in Dallas) was a celebration of Texas Tech basketball and the terrific season the Red Raiders put together.  The NCAA selection committee rewarded the Red Raiders’ season with a trip to the Metroplex and the event didn’t disappoint.

Fans in Scarlet and Black packed the AAC to the rafters and created an atmosphere unlike any in Texas Tech basketball history. The game against Florida was a classic struggle for survival with both teams emptying their tanks.

Eventually, the home crowd was the difference for Tech.  DFW native Keenan Evans led the team with 22 points while fellow Metroplex native Zhaire Smith had his best game of the season with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

This game was not the most important for this year’s basketball team, that came in the next game against Purdue in the Sweet 16 but in many ways it was the most special.  In a rare opportunity that might not ever happen again, the seven Red Raiders from the DFW area got to experience a special moment in front of the largest Texas Tech crowd to ever watch a basketball game.

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It was a moment that will forever be etched in the lore of Texas Tech basketball and will forever remain a blissful memory in the heart of all Red Raiders in attendance and around the world.