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Red Raiders get a Bahamas Bounceback in Thanksgiving Thriller

In a thrilling matchup at the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis, Texas Tech secured a 72-70 victory over Northern Iowa thanks to Pop Isaacs’ game-winning shot in the final second. Despite facing a 15-point deficit in the second half, the Red Raiders (4-1) were led by Joe Toussaint’s impressive 21-point performance. With just five seconds left on the clock, Toussaint passed to Isaacs, who confidently drove to the basket and banked in a runner to seal the comeback win. In total, Isaacs finished with 18 points for Texas Tech.

Isaacs explained, ” The play was designed for me to get the ball to my right hand at the top of the key. I didn’t want to settle for anything. I wanted to get to the rim and maybe get a foul. These guys trusted me. Joe passed me the ball, and Coach drew it up. I appreciate them and all of my teammates.”

Darrion Williams finished the game with 10 points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots, while Devan Cambridge contributed 10 points and eight rebounds in the win. Warren Washington added seven points, six rebounds, and a blocked shot as Tech limited its turnovers to just eight – a season-low. They also had an impressive scoring advantage of 18-6 off turnovers and made a total of eight 3-pointers. Meanwhile, UNI (1-4) shot 47.1 percent from the field (24-for-51), made nine shots from beyond the arc, and went 13 for 19 at the free-throw line. Tech also had success at the free-throw line, going 16-for-19.

According to Texas Tech coach Grant McCasland, Northern Iowa is a formidable team that plays at a fast pace. The level of respect we have for them is immense. We knew our matchup would be challenging, as they kept us on the defensive for most of the 30 minutes. They pressured us with their quickness and prevented us from gaining momentum in the paint. However, once we got them into foul trouble and were able to enter the bonus, the tide began to turn in our favor. I was delighted with our unwavering determination and consistent defense improvement throughout the game.

As part of their three-game stay in the Bahamas, Tech will play the 5th-6th place game on Friday at 5 p.m. Tech lost on Wednesday to Villanova and then played the Michigan-Stanford winner on Friday. After fighting back from a nine-point halftime deficit that peaked at 58-43 with 11 minutes remaining, they will enter it on a high note.

“I was telling our guys to stay together,” Toussaint told ESPN. “It’s a long game. We had to stay together and keep going.”

“We just had to keep fighting,” Isaacs said. “Stay positive and encourage each other.”

Cambridge made a layup, followed by a tough inside shot with 7:36 remaining on the clock, bringing the score back to nine points. Isaacs assisted with these shots. Toussaint’s free throws and a 3-pointer from Walton brought Tech within three points, extending their run to 12-1. This was Walton’s first 3-pointer since the season opener. Toussaint’s 3-pointer with 5:05 left on the clock tied the game at 64, and then Cambridge’s free throw put Tech in the lead for the first time at 65-64. Toussaint gave Tech a four-point lead with another shot, but Anderson’s 3-pointer for UNI tied the score at 70 with just 27 seconds remaining in the game.

Isaacs’ heroics at Battle 4 Atlantis evened the Tech record at 1-1. It was his first career game-winning shot.

UNI maintained a lead during the first half and had their most significant advantage at 12 points. Isaacs had 11 points for Tech, making three of six 3-point attempts. Toussaint contributed seven points, and Warren Washington led with five rebounds, scoring three points and blocking a shot. Cambridge added five points and three rebounds for the Red Raiders, who shot 32.1% overall but made five out of 14 3-pointers and eight free throws. In comparison, UNI shot 48.3% from the field, going five for twelve on 3s and making seven out of nine free throws. Nate Hiese had 11 points in the first half for UNI and finished with a team-high total of 18 points.

Tech opened the game with a shot clock violation after winning the tip-off, allowing UNI to take an early lead with a Heise 3-pointer. The Red Raiders quickly responded with Isaacs sinking a 3-pointer of their own, but UNI went on a 7-0 run. Toussaint temporarily stopped the Panthers’ momentum with a step-back 3-pointer, making it a 10-6 game. However, UNI continued to pull ahead, leading by 20-15 until Isaacs hit another 3-pointer for Tech. Cambridge then scored on an offensive rebound and putback, reducing the deficit to nine points at 27-18. Isaacs and Toussaint were responsible for Tech’s first 15 points before Cambridge’s basket.

Last season, Toussaint achieved a personal best of 22 points while playing for West Virginia against Texas Tech. Since then, he has joined the Red Raiders and has been a standout player, scoring double figures in all five games. In the most recent match, he went 6-for-13 from the field with two 3-pointers and had a perfect record of 7-for-7 at the free-throw line. Isaacs also demonstrated impressive shooting skills, making four 3-pointers for the second consecutive game. He had previously scored four against Villanova and led the team with 16 points. In their first game in the Bahamas, Toussaint contributed 15 points and has now been the top scorer twice this season, averaging 19.0 points per game overall.

The 15-point comeback comes a season after the Red Raiders established a program record with a 23-point comeback against Iowa State. Tech is 1-0 all-time against UNI after the first matchup between the two programs and will look to leave the Bahamas with a winning record before a match at Butler in Indianapolis next week.

” The goal has always been finding ways to help each other get better, ” McCasland said. “Even during this game. I love being around these guys and know our best days are ahead.”

 

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