- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - With six seniors, including three graduate transfers, Texas Tech is among the oldest teams in college basketball.

Saturday, it was a veteran that sealed an 85-84 win over Rice when Anthony Livingston made three free throws with 2.4 seconds left.

Rice’s Connor Cashaw missed two free throws with 13 seconds left before Livingston attempted a 3-pointer in traffic and was fouled.

Livingston, a graduate transfer from Arkansas State that celebrated his 24th birthday Saturday, finished with a career-high 33 points. Keenan Evans added 14 points and had three assists for Texas Tech (7-1).

“I had no doubt that I was going to go up there and make the free throws,” Livingston said. “Just make the free throws for my team. Like you said, best birthday ever.”

It was the first 30-point performance by a Texas Tech player since Mike Singletary at Iowa State in January 2011.

Rice (6-2) was led by 27 points from Marcus Evans and 25 points and six rebounds by Egor Koulechov.

Rice led 82-79 with 57.6 seconds left before Texas Tech took a timeout. After a Justin Gray 3-point attempt missed, Marcus Evans grabbed the rebound and was fouled on the other end of the court. He hit both free throws to put Rice up, 84-79.

“Unbelievable heart,” Gray said. “The previous timeouts leading up to that, coach (Chris) Beard just reiterated, you know, ‘We’re going to win this game.’ Just making sure everybody had that look in their eye.”

Evans brought the Red Raiders to within two, 84-82, on a 3-pointer before Cashaw was fouled.

The game was tied 61-61 with 10:33 left after Koulechov and Livingston traded 3-pointers. Entering the game, Koulechov averaged 18.3 points and Livingston averaged 11.4 points.

“The floor is spaced so well (by Rice),” Beard said. “It’s a couple times where just Rice had a layup on it. It’s because we were trying to take away the 3-point shot.”

The first half ended with a 34-31 Texas Tech lead. Texas Tech shot 64 percent from the floor in the second half and Rice shot 59.3 percent.

“We let it fly - that’s just how we play,” Rice coach Mike Rhoades said. “We wanted to play faster than we did today. We’ve been playing pretty fast. But our guys know they have the green light.”

BIG PICTURE

Rice: Texas Tech was Rice’s first opponent from a Power Five conference this season. It entered with a five-game winning streak and will visit Atlantic Coast Conference member Pittsburgh on Dec. 17.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are missing standout frontcourt players Norense Odiase and Aaron Ross, who are both rehabbing injuries. Livingston has provided strong frontcourt performances along with Zach Smith. … Entering Saturday, Big 12 teams posted a 56-11 record to start the season.

IT”S BEEN A WHILE

Texas Tech and Rice last played in 1996, a game the Red Raiders won 68-53. All 91 of the previous meetings between these teams came as members of the Southwest Conference.

OWLS OFF TURNOVERS

Rice won the points off turnover margin 18-15, an area the Red Raiders have generally succeeded in and used to suffocate opponents this year.

RICE’S RANGE

The Owls entered the game averaging nine 3-pointers per game. Saturday, they finished with 15.

UP NEXT

Rice hosts Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 10.

Texas Tech hosts the University of Texas-San Antonio Wednesday.


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