LAS VEGAS – Texas Tech fought back from a 14-point halftime deficit to force overtime but fell 83-76 in the consolation final of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic on Friday at the Orleans Arena.
The No. 12 Red Raiders (5-2) dropped both of their Las Vegas Classic games after also taking a 72-61 loss to Iowa on Thursday night after starting the season with a five-game winning streak. Tech trailed by as many as 19 against the Bluejays (5-2) in the first half but forced overtime when Chris Clarke tied the game at 74-74 with a layup with 33 seconds remaining in regulation off and an assist from Terrence Shannon, Jr. The basket by Clarke completed an 8-0 run to end regulation by the Red Raiders which had trailed 74-66 with 2:45 remaining, but the Bluejays would outscore the Red Raiders by a 9-2 margin in overtime to earn the win.
“You can’t be down 10 points to Iowa at halftime and you can’t be down 14 to Creighton at halftime,” Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. “That’s falls on me. I have to find a way to coach these guys better.”
Texas Tech will now play at DePaul (8-0) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
Davide Moretti scored a career-high 23 points after going 8-for-19 from the field with three 3-pointers. Moretti, who had a previous career-best of 21 last season against Arkansas, also went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line and is now 17-for-17 from the line this season. Chris Clarke added 17 points and led the team with nine assists and seven rebounds in his first start of the season, while Kyler Edwards had 14 points with two 3-pointers. Moretti was named to the Las Vegas Invitational All-Tournament Team.
The Red Raiders trailed throughout the game but battled back to tie the game when Russel Tchewa made an inside shot off an assist from Clarke which capped a 21-5 run that started on a Andrei Savrasov 3-pointer. Savrasov, a redshirt freshman, had not scored this season but knocked down two big 3-pointers in the second half to spark the rally. He finished with six points, while Shannon had eight and Avery Benson scored four. Benson took a charge with 46 seconds remaining to set up the game-tying shot by Clarke before Creighton turned the ball over and time ran out to force overtime.
Texas Tech played without its leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey who is day-to-day after suffering a hamstring injury against Iowa. Ramsey leads the team at 17.3 points per game and also has 6.0 rebounds per game.
Clarke’s 17 points were a career-high after had 11 on Thursday and he is now averaging 8.0 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game.
“Chris played with a lot of courage this weekend,” Beard said. “He was best our rebounder and best assist person on the stats tonight. He plays with poise out there. He can tell you — he can get better. He’s playing at a high, high level. He was one of the positives this weekend.”
In overtime, Texas Tech went 1-for-8 from the field including going 0-for-6 on 3-pointers while Creighton won the game by making three shots and three free throws. Marcus Zegarowski led the Bluejays with 32 points, including four in overtime. Zegarowski and Ty-Shon Alexander each had three 3-pointers in the game for Creighton which finished the game with 10 3-pointers and show 51.7 percent from the field against the Red Raiders.
Tech finished the game with only nine turnovers and shot 43.3 percent from the field. The team was 8-for-30 on 3-pointers and finished 10-for-12 at the free-throw line.
Texas Tech trailed 46-32 at halftime after shooting just 2-for-13 on 3-pointers on its end of the court and seeing Creighton go off for eight 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes. The Bluejays were 8-for-14 on 3-pointers led by Zegarowski who had 18 points at halftime after knocking down three along with Alexander who had 15 points. Clarke and Moretti led the Red Raiders with nine points each, while Benson had four as a reserve. Shannon finished the first half with six points on three inside shots and Edwards had four points and matched Clarke for the team lead with three assists at the break. Creighton built its lead with an 11-0 run that grew to a 19-2 run to take a 31-15 lead.
The Red Raiders were shooting 40.6 from the field, while Creighton was 16-for-26 (61.5 percent) as the teams went into the locker room. Tech had only two turnovers but trailed by 14 against the hot-shooting Bluejays who were coming off a 31-point loss to San Diego State on Friday.
In the title game, Malachi Flynn scored all of his 28 points after halftime to lead San Diego State past Iowa 83-73 as the Aztecs rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit in Las Vegas Invitational championship game on Friday night. Flynn, the tournament’s MVP, also had five rebounds and four assists while going 9 of 9 from the free-throw line. Jordan Schakel and Yanni Wetzell each had 14 points for the Aztecs (8-0) — their best start since 2010-11, when they were also was 8-0. CJ Fredrick led Iowa (5-2) with 16 points. Connor McCaffery added 15 and Joe Toussaint had 13. Luka Garza, who is averaging over 20 points per game, had nine points on 3-for-8 shooting and eight rebounds.
San Diego State took the lead for good on Wetzell layup with 14:01 left after trailing by 16 with 3:05 remaining until halftime.