LAHINA, Hawaii. Texas Tech’s defensive identity was on full display against a Louisville team that was trying to find its way under freshman coach Kenny Payne.
The 21st-seeded Red Raiders took the Cardinals to their lowest level in 74 years in a 70-38 victory at the Maui Invitational on Tuesday, a record that continued Louisville’s worst season start since 1940-41.
“We’re going to dive into the floor, we’re going to play hard,” said Technological Institute freshman Robert Jennings. “We will make the teams feel uncomfortable. We’re going to be the team that people don’t want to play.”
Louisville had a pretty tough time on offense when they lost 80-54 to ninth-seeded Arkansas on Monday. On Tuesday things got much worse. The Cardinals shot 29% overall and 23% on 3-pointers, as well as 40 assists in two games.
“The two things I took away from Arkansas and Texas Tech were their defense and their ability to generate turnover,” Payne said. “It’s not about how qualified they are. It’s about their will.”
Kevin Obanor scored 15 points to lead the Red Raiders (4-1) as they bounced back from a 76-65 loss to No. 10 Creighton on Monday, posting their highest defensive performance since Incarnate Word scored 37 points in 2018 year.
“They were constantly imposing their will on us throughout the game and we were flipping the ball and we had poor shooting percentage because of them,” Payne said. “We have to learn from this and play the way they played.”
Louisville (0-5) went scoreless for over 10 minutes at halftime. The Cardinals missed 13 field goals and two free throws and had six assists during the drought.
When it started, Texas Tech was leading 20-13. When it ended with Sidney Curry’s layup, the Red Raiders were leading 45-15.
The Cardinals’ 38 points were the lowest since losing 62-34 to Xavier on January 7, 1948.
A Jaylon Tyson three-pointer extended the Red Raiders’ lead to double figures during a 17–2 rush that ended with the Red Raiders taking a 32–13 lead at the half.
The 13 points in the first half was the fewest points allowed by Texas Tech since Northwestern scored 10 points on December 12, 2018. It was only the second time since the 2009-10 season that Louisville had scored so low in the first half.
Of the 12 Texas Tech players who came up, 11 scored, with the Red Raiders hitting 43% per game and throwing 14 interceptions.
El Ellis and Jay’Lyn Withers each scored seven points for the Cardinals, who were 11 of 49 from the field (27%) and finished with 18 losses.
“Well, I pushed them really hard yesterday,” technical coach Mark Adams said. “I don’t necessarily like being like that. But we have so many new and young players and we have to make them grow. Sometimes you have to do it differently. We were more strict with them and talked more about discipline and toughness.
“There’s still a long way to go, but it’s been great to see that these guys are at least listening, teachable and, I think, taking a step forward.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Texas Institute of Technology: Adams never lost back-to-back games with the Red Raiders in his second season. Tech’s trademark defense is in mid-season form, having scored 55 points or less in three of its first four games.
Louisville: Cardinals’ worst start in 82 years continues. They started 1940-41 with 11 losses in a row.
Texas Tech plays Wednesday for fifth place against winner Ohio State-Cincinnati.
Louisville plays in Wednesday’s seventh-place game against underdog Ohio-Cincinnati.
LAHINA, Hawaii. Ryan Nembhard drove down the lane with an authoritative last-minute dunk to score a season-high 25 points for No. 10 Creighton, who endured a tight second half by beating No. 9 Arkansas 90-87 on Tuesday to advance. for the Maui Invitational championship game.
Trey Alexander hit two free throws with 1.9 seconds left for Creighton, who will play for the title on Wednesday against No. 14 Arizona or No. 17 San Diego State.
The Bluejays (6-0) and the Razorbacks (4-1) had an electrifying second half worthy of a March Madness match. Arkansas have made the Elite Eight for consecutive seasons, with Creighton reaching the second round last year after moving to the Sweet 16 in 2021.
Ryan Kalkbrenner scored 21 points, Baylor Scheierman 20, and Alexander 12 for the Bluejays, who ended the first half with a 12-point lead.
Anthony Black scored 26 points, Ricky Council IV 24 and Trevon Brazil 17 for the Razorbacks.
There were 10 score changes and the game was tied 10 times in the second half.
Nembhard made two free throws after the Arkansas bench was whistled for a technical foul from 13:57 to a 53–53 draw. Creighton has been in double bonus for the last 13 minutes.
Nembhard, the shortest player on the court at 6 feet, dunked and led 79-76 with 2:34 left. The next time the Brazilian responded with three-pointers, leveling the score to 79.
Kalkbrenner backjammed with 1:20 left to give the Bluejays an 83-81 lead.
After Schuierman made two free throws to take an 87–84 lead with 16 seconds left, the Council conceded a third corner and Nembhard rebounded and was fouled. He made one of two free throws and Black went down to the floor and struck out the 3rd straight, taking Arkansas out for one. Then Alexander realized two insurance free throws.
Creighton took a 12-point lead with 1:43 left in the first half before the Sharp Backs closed out 6-0, culminating in Trevon Brazil’s thunderous pass-through dunk from Anthony Black.
THE BIG PICTURE
Creighton: The Bluejays’ free offense set up three players in double figures for halftime: Nembhard with 13 points, Scheierman with 11 and Kalkbrenner with 10.
Arkansas: It was a big step forward in the Razorbacks competition. They opened the season with easy home wins over the states of North Dakota, Fordham and South Dakota before beating winless Louisville by 26 points in the opener in Maui.
Creighton will face either the Wildcats or the Aztecs in what should be another game worthy of the March Madness for the title.
Arkansas will face underdog SDSU-Arizona for third place.
NEW YORK. André Curbelo scored a career-high 23 points, Joel Soriano and David Jones scored a double-double, and the St. Johns dominated overtime, beating Syracuse 76-69 on Tuesday night to clinch the Vividseats Empire Classic at the Barclays Center.
Soriano had 19 points, a career-high, and 14 rebounds, while Jones had 18 and 13, and matched Curbelo’s six assists for the Red Storm (6-0), who beat Temple 78-72 in their classic opening game.
Both teams had shot clock violations in the last minute of the regulation before the Oranges missed a contested shot at the buzzer signal to leave the game tied at 65. Offensive problems continued into extra sessions before Jones was stopped midway through.
Jesse Edwards quickly returned them with a pair of free throws, but the St. Johns scored six points in a row, which was too much for Syracuse. The Oranges left the field 1 of 4, missed a one-on-one start and lost the ball four times in the extra session.
Four starters scored in double figures for Syracuse (3–2), led by Judah Mintz with 20 goals. Edwards had 18, Chris Bell had 12 and Benny Williams had 11 with 10 rebounds. Joe Girard had a terrible night, scoring four points on 1-of-10 shots of the night after scoring 31 points in overtime over Richmond in the first game of the classic.
Williams had five points and Mintz had four in a 9-0 series to give Syracuse a 19-8 lead midway through the first half. Red Storm closed the gap to three with Curbelo’s three-pointer with six seconds left, but Mintz converted a three-pointer with one second left to give the Oranges a 35–29 lead.
Syracuse took the lead back to 10, but the St. Johns went 16-2 and 56-52 ahead when Montes Mathis made two free throws at 8:17.
Syracuse was 3 of 16 from three-point range and shot 39%. St. Johnson was 40% and 7 out of 23 out of 3 points.
The Final Four is heading to Las Vegas for the first time, where NCAA Tournament betting has long been a staple of the March frenzy after the NCAA awarded the Allegiant Stadium men’s national semi-finals and championship game for the 2027-28 season.
The NCAA also announced Tuesday that Ford Field in Detroit will host the Final Four in 2027, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in 2029, and AT&T Stadium in Dallas in 2030.
“We are thrilled to be hosting the NCAA Major Championship in Las Vegas, a city that has hosted multiple championships for several member conferences over the years,” said Athletic Director Bradley Chris Reynolds, Chairman of the NCAA Selection Committee. “Reviews from the leagues, the fans of their teams and the media coverage of the events organized there have been extremely positive and we are confident that we will receive the same feedback.”
The national championship this season will be decided at NRG Stadium in Houston, while State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, Alamodom Stadium in San Antonio, and Lucas Oil Stadium have already been selected for the next three Final Fours.
The NCAA has long avoided holding major events in Las Vegas due to its reputation as the Mecca of gambling. But the stance has softened over the years, especially after sports betting became legal in states across the country and many leagues turned their glitzy arenas into the home of their post-season basketball tournaments.
Mountain West will play their championship game this season at Thomas & Mack Center, Pac-12 at T-Mobile Arena, West Coast Conference at Orleans Arena and WAC split between Michelob ULTRA Arena and Orleans Arena.
Las Vegas was already set to host nine other NCAA championships over the next four years, and the NCAA men’s tournament will be held there for the first time next March when the regional round is played at the T-Mobile Arena.
“We are delighted. His…