NCAA Men's Tournament: Houston advances to Round of 16

SAN DIEGO – Texas Tech players came as advertised. They punched, they crushed, they traded and they challenged Notre Dame to bring their...


SAN DIEGO – Texas Tech players came as advertised. They punched, they crushed, they traded and they challenged Notre Dame to bring their attack to the middle of the floor. And for another night, as the Red Raiders offense also lived up to its reputation, it worked.

The Red Raiders shut down Notre Dame’s storybook week – and season – with a 59-53 win despite shooting 35.6 percent from the field. As a result, Texas Tech advanced to the Round of 16 on Thursday against Duke in San Francisco.

“The ball is going to go some nights, and some nights it doesn’t,” Texas Tech guard Kevin McCullar said. “We know that one thing that will be consistent is our defense and our efforts. We want to be the toughest team to play, always.

After a classic double-overtime run against Rutgers in a qualifying game and a spirited first-round win over Alabama on Friday, the Fighting Irish simply couldn’t beat the national leader in defensive efficiency. It was a defensive battle that sometimes felt more like a rock fight than a ballet. What he lacked in artistry he made up for in grit.

The Texas Tech bigs were too much for Notre Dame on the inside in the first half, holding the Irish to just 25 percent from the field (7 for 28). The Irish’s best chance early on was to fire at the Texas Tech defense, and their 31 percent 3-point (5-for-16) success in the first half pulled them down to 26-25 at halftime.

But the margin for error was slim. Paul Atkinson Jr., who earned a game-high 26 points against Rutgers on Wednesday, was limited to 5 points — and one field goal — by the Red Raiders. And Texas Tech held sniper Cormac Ryan, who beat a career-high 29 points against Alabama on Friday, to just 9 points. For the game, Notre Dame shot 32.7%. Still, the Irish had a chance to win in the final minute as Texas Tech shot just 32.1% in the second half.

Notre Dame struggled to control forward Kevin Obanor, who led Texas Tech with 15 points. In fact, Obanor, Bryson Williams and McCullar (14 points each) combined to score 43 of Texas Tech’s 59 points.

—Scott Miller

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Newsrust - US Top News: NCAA Men's Tournament: Houston advances to Round of 16
NCAA Men's Tournament: Houston advances to Round of 16
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