Villanova's Elite Eight opponent set as Texas Tech beats Purdue

Head Coach Chris Beard Texas Tech during the game against Purdue in the East Regionals of the NCAA Tournament at TD Garden on March 23, 2018.

BOSTON – Something was in the air, something that said it would only take that one decisive spurt of separation to determine things between third-seeded Texas Tech and No.2 seed Purdue.

It was just a matter of when it would happen and which team would use it to advance to the East Regional final of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

Camera icon CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Zach Smith, right, of Texas Tech dunks against Dakota Mathias of Purdue in the East Regionals of the NCAA Tournament at TD Garden on March 23, 2018.

The way things were playing out it looked like Texas Tech had made that surge midway through the second half when a 13-4 run gave the Red Raiders a nine-point advantage with a little over nine and a half minutes remaining.

But as it had done the other times that Tech had got a little extension, Purdue scrapped back to stay within striking distance.

Ultimately, however, Purdue never could make it all up and Texas Tech pulled out a 78-65 win on Friday at the TD Garden.

Leading 60-55 with 4:42 remaining, the Red Raiders (27-9) advance the first Elite Eight in the program’s history by closing the game out on 18-10 run.

Senior guard Keenan Evans had 16 points and four assists, while Zach Smith (14), Justin Gray (12) and Zhaire Smith (11) also scored in double figures for Tech.

The Red Raiders will play top-seeded Villanova for a spot in the 2018 Final Four next week in San Antonio.

Sophomore guard Carsen Edwards led Purdue (30-7) with a game-high 30 points.