This is the type of all-around game the Red Raiders had been waiting for from Mike Singletary.
Fired up about the possibility of Texas Tech starting a winning streak, Singletary poured in 33 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dispensed six assists to steer Tech to a 92-83 triumph at Iowa State on Jan. 26. A senior forward, Singletary converted 12 of 18 shots and just kept making key shot after key shot to help keep the Cyclones at bay.
With the Iowa State victory following a win over Nebraska, the Raiders improved to 10-11 overall, 2-4 in the Big 12 Conference. Tech has now won two straight games for the first time since winning non-conference games against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (70-55 on Jan. 2) and Delaware State (79-60 on Jan. 4).
Before the game against Iowa State, Singletary told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: "You need one (game) to get on a roll. That's the way we're looking at it right now.
"It took a couple games, but we got the first one out of the way, and now we've got a few games here that we feel like we can win."
Now that they have crawled out of the Big 12 basement, the Raiders will try to keep their winning ways going when they entertain Oklahoma State on Jan. 29. It's a game Tech should win, since Oklahoma State has dropped four of its last five contests.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: Texas Tech's starting backcourt came up big against Iowa State, as shooting guard David Tairu and point guard John Roberson combined for 25 points, eight rebounds, 17 assists and two steals.
Tairu scored 13 points, pulled down eight rebounds and distributed five assists. Meanwhile, Roberson tallied 12 points, handed out 12 assists and picked up a pair of steals. Roberson also converted four of five shots from 3-point range.
The contributions of Tairu and Roberson are instrumental to the success of the Raiders. The duo is responsible for breaking the press and getting the ball in the right teammates' hands.
--After the Jan. 29 home game against Oklahoma State, life will get considerably tougher for the Raiders.
--The 72-71 victory against Nebraska on Jan. 22 was achieved despite unusually poor foul shooting by Texas Tech. The Red Raiders ranked third in the Big 12 with 72.7 percent foul shooting going into the game, but they made just 10 of 18 free throws (.556) against the Huskers.
--Through 20 games, Texas Tech had used seven different starting lineups.
BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- Rebounds for the Red Raiders against Nebraska in excess of Texas Tech's season average. The Red Raiders forced a differential of 11 boards (36-25) after coming in with an average rebounding margin of minus-4.1.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a must-win for us (against Nebraska), especially on our home court. It allowed us to get our confidence up. We've been right there, but a few mistakes have been holding us back. So to get over the hump was a great feeling." -- Texas Tech G John Roberson.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: vs. Oklahoma State, Jan. 29
KEY MATCHUPS: Avoiding a huge rebounding differential is important for the Red Raiders, who've been susceptible on the glass against physical teams. F Marshall Moses is as strong as any frontcourt player in the Big 12, and he gets help underneath from F Darrell Williams. The Cowboys rely on many threats, though F J.P. Olukemi is among the toughest matchups since he can score off jumpers and penetration.
FUTURES MARKET: A style Texas Tech hoped to incorporate going into the season played out in the Jan. 22 win against Nebraska. Although G John Roberson is the all-time assists leader for the Red Raiders, he was going to spot up more this season along the perimeter so Tech could capitalize on the long-range threat the senior poses. Against Nebraska, he had just two assists but canned seven of 10 attempts from 3-point range. Tech must rely on consistent ball movement among other players to continue to free Roberson off picks.
--Senior F D'walyn Roberts had a breakout game against Iowa State. The 6-foot-7, 200-pounder from Duncanville, Texas, tallied 16 points and collected 11 rebounds and two steals. Now another weapon the Raiders can depend on, Roberts converted eight of 13 shots while playing 39 of the game's 40 minutes.
--Almost the forgotten man in the Raiders' arsenal, senior F Brad Reese proved once again how important he is to Tech's overall achievements. Against Iowa State, Reese scored 14 points, snatched eight rebounds, blocked two shots, made a pair of steals, and nailed two of four shots from beyond the 3-point arc.