Texas Tech Falls Short Against A&M

Texas Tech needed on more possession again this season to top a tough team at home, but once again saw the final shot come up short. And what will happen next with leader Mike Singletary who was MIA on Saturday?

BOX SCORE

LUBBOCK — It's happened four times this season.

Four times Texas Tech has found itself trying to win the game on the final possession and only once has it worked out in the Red Raiders' favor.

Tech (11-14,3-7 Big 12) lost an initial 10-point lead early in the first half and watched two 3-pointers miss at the end of the game Saturday, losing 70-67, to No. 22 Texas A&M.

"They all hurt," Texas Tech head coach Pat Knight said. "It wears you out."

A&M (19-5, 6-4) won its second consecutive close game after fighting through two overtimes against Baylor (lost) and Colorado (won).

And the game went a lot differently than each team may have expected, from a personnel standpoint.

Tech played nearly the entire game without leading scorer and senior Mike Singletary. He did not start the game and entered during the 12:30 mark of the first half after the Red Raiders established a 18-8 lead. He was ineffective in the game, missing two jumpers — one on an air ball — and just after his exit at the 8:49 mark, Tech was suddenly in a 21-21 tie with A&M and never would take another big lead.

Singletary would not come back in.

"I thought we were playing pretty well without him, but obviously you're probably better off if he can play," Knight said. "But he couldn't play.

"I guess it's his calf. I don't know. I didn't hear anything about a calf before the game and then I guess his calf was bothering him."

Tech senior David Tairu, who was one of three Red Raiders in double figures with 16 points, wished the team could have at least had Singletary out there for his leadership and team-leading scoring average of 13.8 points.

"It affected us a lot," Tairu said. "His average, if you think about it. If we would have had his average today, we would have won by seven points. So it was huge. Mike Singletary is the leader on this team. Him and John Roberson have the most experience. Not having Mike Singletary really hurt us."

The Red Raiders were able to use Tairu, Brad Reese, Roberson and D'walyn Roberts to the fullest extent, only subbing out Jaye Crockett and Robert Lewandowski at times because of both being in foul trouble.

A&M head coach Mark Turgeon said it was a different look that was working well for Tech.

"I thought when Lewandowski was on the bench, and Singletary was on the bench — they were hard to guard," he said. "(Crockett) came in and just drives you. They were hard to guard. They had us spaced out. Our guys, we're pretty good defensively.

"We've been pretty good defensively for the last two and a half games, but they just had us spread and I thought they were much harder to guard, to be quite honest with you. I think (Pat) had the players on the floor to give him what he needs to try and win the game."

Tech now needs at least five wins in its last six games to be .500 in conference play and better than .500 overall before the Big 12 Tournament starts March 9 in Kansas City, Mo.

Although many appear to be convinced that Knight's future is dismal with the team at this point, the next few games could officially decide it.

Travis Cram is the Managing Editor for RaiderPower.com. Email him at travis.f.cram@gmail.com and follow his daily updates on Twitter.


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