LUBBOCK — There were two pests on the court consistently bugging each other's team on Saturday at United Spirit Arena.
Mike Singletary had been unstoppable and relentless inside for Texas Tech while Oklahoma State's Keiton Page never appeared to go away, even if the Red Raiders fouled him and knocked him to the ground, and continued to hit shot after shot and stay perfect in Big 12 Conference play from the free throw line.
Coincidentally, in the end, it was these two players that collided to decide the last shot of the game.
Lucky for Tech, Singletary was up to the task.
Singletary blocked Page's final attempt and scored 25 points to seal Tech's 75-74 overtime win and give the Red Raiders their third consecutive win — their first three-game Big 12 winning streak under head coach Pat Knight.
"When you win three games in a row in this league, you have to be playing pretty pleased," Knight said. "But, then again, when you go back and look at the game, we made some bad mistakes that almost cost us the game. But what they are doing now is that after they make a mistake or someone takes a shot at us we are able to bounce back.
"We've talked about it before in press conferences, the bad body language and all that, and that's kind of gone. These guys have fought through these last three games and that's good."
Tech (10-10, 3-4 Big 12) needed the overtime period to put away Nebraska after John Roberson hit two free throws to put the Red Raiders up 68-65 with 27 seconds left in regulation, but then fouled Page on a 3-pointer with just 15 seconds to play. Page, who led OSU with 26 points, sunk all three and tied the game.
It was almost a déjà vu moment for Tech fans. Roberson fouled Nebraska's Brandon Richardson on a three last week and watched him sink all three free throws to give Nebraska the one-point lead. D'walyn Roberts won the game against the Cornhuskers on the next play — a tip-in after Singletary's miss. But Saturday, Roberson's final shot in regulation did not make it in or find its way into a Red Raiders' hands, sending the game to OT.
But the senior guard would make up for it in the extra period, scoring five of Tech's seven points including a 3-pointer that turned out to be the game winner.
And like he thanked Roberts for the tip-in last week to save his mistake, he likely had the same thank you for Singletary, whose block in the end followed two missed free throws by Roberson that would have surely sealed the game.
"They are a really good team and they have a lot of good players on their team who were making plays," Roberson said. "We played good defense and they were making plays, but that just showed the heart of this team. We kept fighting and we never quit and won the game."
Oklahoma State (14-7, 2-5) never could take the lead for more than a few moments and although it took 74 shots in the game, only 25 fell. Then there were the 27 fouls the Cowboys committed, resulting in 29 free throws made by Tech — 13 by Singletary.
In the end, it was more about he collective team effort by Knight's team, who must now prepare for No. 6 Kansas (8 p.m. CDT, ESPN) on Tuesday. The Red Raiders have won the last three meetings in Lubbock against the Jayhawks, but Knight referred back to a quote from Texas head coach Rick Barnes about what this league is like from week-to-week. Just take Tech for an example. The Red Raiders have gone from dead last in the Big 12 to eighth place in just one week.
"He said, ‘One week you can be a peacock and the next, a feather duster,'" Knight said. "So we were a feather duster the first week, and now we're a peacock. Who knows what's going to happen next."