Tech Dodges A&M 80-71

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--When his closest friend collapsed at courtside Thursday afternoon, a worried <b>Bob Knight</b> had a special message for his <b>Tech</b> team.<p> <br>

"He just said that was one of his really good friends who came down from Indiana and if there was any time to play hard, that would be the time," said center Andy Ellis. "He didn't want us to lose that game."


And so the Raiders didn't. After Texas A&M got within 2 points late in the second half of their first-round Big 12 game, Andre Emmett led a 9-0 run that carried them to an 80-71 victory.


Bob Hammel, the long-time sports editor of the Bloomington, Ind., Herald-Times, was removed from the arena by stretcher as the game was halted for about 15 minutes with 6:32 left in the second half.


Doctors later said he was breathing on his own and apparently had had a diabetic seizure. He is the co-author of Knight's autobiography, which is scheduled for release later this month.


Ellis wound up with 27 points and Emmett added 24 for the Raiders (22-7), which has made a remarkable turnaround from a 9-win season in Knight's first year as coach.


Tech led 68-66 when Emmett, a first-team All-Big 12 selection, hit two field goals and one free throw and blocked an Aggie shot to put the Red Raiders on top 73-66.


After another Texas A&M miss, Kasib Powell put in a stick-back for a 75-66 lead. Then with 31 seconds left, Nick Valdez hit two free throws to make it 77-68.


In Friday's quarterfinals, the Raiders will meet No. 12 Oklahoma State, which they split with in the regular season, winning by 24 at home and losing by 2 on the road.


"That will really be tough," said Pat Knight, Bob Knight's son and assistant coach. Bob Knight did not appear at the post-game news conference but went straight to the hospital where Hammel was taken.


"If we get off to the kind of start against Oklahoma State that we did today, it will be a long night for us," said the younger Knight.


Texas A&M (9-22), the tournament's 12th seed, had its last lead at 39-38 on Jesse King's 10-footer, then Ellis dropped in two free throws and started a 9-0 run that put the Raiders in command.


"I thought that the first half we did things that we wanted to do," said Texas A&M's Bernard King. "We were trying to play the game in five minutes, win five minutes at a time."


The lead reached 11 before King, who had totaled 40 points against Tech in two previous games this year, hit two 3-pointers and two free throws to make it 53-50.


King finished with 26 points. Jesse King had 11 for the Aggies.


Tech trailed the entire first half but never let the Aggies get a bigger lead than 7 points.


Ellis hit a 3-pointer to make it a 1-point lead with about two minutes to go in the first half and the Aggies finally settled for a 30-32 halftime edge.



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