Texas Tech coach Chris Beard after 85-73 win: ‘In no way did I expect to beat Kansas’

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) tries to squeeze between Texas Tech guard Brandone Francis (1) and Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver (23) during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard was brutally honest during his postgame session with the media following Tuesday’s 85-73 victory over 10th-ranked Kansas.

“In no way did I expect to beat Kansas on their home floor, but I did expect to play hard and play well,” Beard said. “I did have some confidence that we were going to do that. Win the game? No. Play well and give ourselves a chance to win? Yes, sir.”

The Red Raiders (12-1 overall, 2-0 Big 12) did exactly that from start to finish, leading for 39:31 minutes of Tuesday’s delicious victory and never seeing KU crawl closer than six after an early bucket pushed Tech’s advantage from 10-5 to 12-5.

Asked what advantages he used to exploit the Jayhawks in this one, Beard again hit hard with the truth.

“I don’t know if we have an edge on Kansas in anything,” he said. “Maybe, we have Whataburger in Lubbock, Texas, and I don’t think you guys do. Maybe that’s an advantage.”

One big plus for the visitors on Tuesday night was their ability to slow down KU’s 3-point shooting. Four nights after seeing Kansas hit 17 of 32 3-pointers in a road win at Texas, the Red Raiders limited Kansas to 6-of-26 shooting from 3-point range, for 23 percent.

“It’s impossible to stop ’em, you just try to contain ’em and then you try to contest shots,” Beard said. “The way they shot the other night in Austin, they’re not going to get beat. They’ll play on the final Monday.”

Azubuike’s back

After a couple of days of rest, sophomore center Udoka Azubuike played 28 minutes and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds in KU’s loss to Texas Tech.

Most of it was pretty insignificant.

Azubuike said after the game that his back was “better” and Self agreed.

“I didn’t talk to him after the game,” Self said. “He probably wasn’t 100 percent, but he wasn’t far off so I don’t think health was a big issue.”

Added senior point guard Devonte’ Graham: “He’s been doing treatment and doing a little bit better and we don’t want to use no excuses, back, foot, ankle, face, whatever it is.”

Senior strength

Texas Tech went with five seniors in the starting lineup on Tuesday night, making the Red Raiders one of just two teams in the country to start five seniors in a game this season, along with Mercer.

Drake, Idaho and Purdue all have started four seniors in their starting five this season and Kansas, of course, starts two in Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk.

“I would say that obviously helped,” KU coach Bill Self said. “But I also looked out there and there were two freshmen out there wearing us out just as much.”

Mahomes in the house

Two days after leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a three-point win in Denver, K.C. quarterback Patrick Mahomes II was in Allen Fieldhouse cheering on his alma mater.

Mahomes, who starred at Texas Tech from 2014-16, sat a few rows behind the Kansas bench wearing a black T-Shirt and left the building just before the final horn sounded.

This and that…

KU falls to 1-1 in Big 12 play for the first time since the 2005-06 season… The Jayhawks now lead the all-time series with Texas Tech, 33-5, including a 17-1 mark in games played in Lawrence… Kansas now has lost two games at Allen Fieldhouse in a single season for the first time since the 2006-07 season and the third time in the Bill Self era.

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