FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — It took 12 games for Texas Tech to win its first — and only — Big 12 game last season, but the Red Raiders took care of league newcomer TCU 62-53 on Saturday in the conference opener for both teams.
The win — also Tech's first conference road win since February 19, 2011 — was cause for celebration in what first-year coach Chris Walker called an elated postgame locker room.
"It definitely feels good — we got one under our belt, and this is something to build on," forward Jordan Tolbert said. "Everybody came out and played their roles, and we executed everything that was in the game plan. If you execute, you should expect to win."
Jaye Crockett scored 13 points, including two free throws with 25 seconds left that staved off a late TCU rally. Dusty Hannahs scored 12 and Tolbert added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Red Raiders (8-4), who have won three in a row and were playing their first road game of the season. With the win, Walker became the first Texas Tech head coach to win a conference opener on the road in his first season since Dell Morgan in 1933.
"We had eight players who had never played in a Big 12 game, and that's got to be a concern," Walker said. "I tell our guys every time, even if they make shots and make free throws, it comes down to two things — we must play harder and more together than TCU.
"They played as hard as they've played all year, and they played as together as they've played all year."
The Red Raiders also stuck to the game plan, which was to try to keep TCU's leading scorers, Kyan Anderson and Garlon Green, out of the game. Anderson and Green combined to make just 3 of 22 shots and had five turnovers.
Instead, it was up to Devonta Abron, starting for the first time since Dec. 4, and Adrick McKinney to led the Horned Frogs. With those two in the starting lineup together for the first time this season, Abron led the team with 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, while McKinney had eight points and seven rebounds. TCU had a three-game win streak snapped.