Red Raiders Get Ready

The Texas Tech Red Raiders were reeling after finishing the Big 12 regular season losing seven straight games. For a team which started the season winning its first nine games and eventually vaulting to No. 16 in the polls, Pat Knight's club was now hoping to regain its early-season mojo entering the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Sprint Center in Kansas City.

No. 9-seeded Tech (17-14) is sure off to a great start after beating Colorado, 82-67, in its first-round game on Wednesday. The Red Raiders will now battle No. 1 Kansas at 11:30 a.m. (CT) Thursday.

Junior guard John Roberson led four Tech players in double figures, as the Red Raiders shot 55.6 percent from the field the second half and 49.1 percent for the game. They were also impressive on defense, holding CU to just 42.6 percent shooting. Tech dominated the boards as well, 39 to 29.

Coach Knight was extremely proud of his team, which is hoping its win today helped secure a NIT bid.  

"Even though we've had a rough three weeks, my guys haven't given up," Knight said. "We're still playing for something. A lot of teams, I think, they go through something like that for three weeks, give up. But I haven't had a problem with these guys. They've been competitive in practice, and they just kept on wanting to win one more."

Texas Tech, which lost to Colorado four days earlier in Boulder, 101-90, didn't really change any matchups against the Buffs in their rematch.

"It's just a defensive situation," Knight said. "We win every time we give up 70 or less, and we get beat almost every time we give up 80 or more. So it's right there for you in writing. Honestly, we didn't change anything up."

Roberson said the team came together and played as one against Colorado.

"We were down by 10 early in the game and it wasn't a sense of panic at all," he said. "We were just talking amongst each other and trying to get things right, instead of bickering at each other. So I think we played more today like a family and we just stuck together."

The Red Raiders will now hope to keep the mojo rolling and shock Kansas on Thursday. KU whipped TTU, 89-63, in the last meeting at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 16. Junior forward Mike Singletary, who was held scoreless in the Phog, is excited about Round 2.

"It's always fun to play Kansas," Singletary said. "It's always fun to play the so-called best team in the country.  So I'm going to take that as a challenge. I think we're all just going to take it as a challenge and just go out there and play with the same energy we played with today. Hopefully we'll come out with a win.

"It's just a matter of going out there and being in the right spots and listening to the scouting report that we're going to have today. And it's all about just containing their guards and trying to limit their big men to offensive rebounds and stuff like that."

KU grabbed 19 offensive rebounds in the earlier contest against Tech in Allen Fieldhouse and won the rebounding battle, 48 to 37. While the Jayhawks didn't shoot well (43.3 percent), they held the Red Raiders to a dismal 32.8 percent from the field. Still, Tech believes they can knock off powerhouse Kansas, just like Baylor did in last year's Big 12 Championship during KU's opening-round game in Oklahoma City.

"We know anything can happen," Roberson said. "When we're on our ‘A' game we're playing good.  We're playing on the offensive end and the defensive end, I think we can beat anybody in the country."

Knight hopes his team brings the same amount of effort from the Colorado game to compete against the Jayhawks.

"We've just got to go out there and play hard," Knight said. "That's all you can ask."

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