The first half of the game consisted of very physical defense and back-and-forth play, with many two chance point opportunities for both teams.
The Red Raiders played 12 players in the half (with 28 points coming from the bench), continuing their new trend of keeping fresh players on the floor like they did in the season opener against St. Francis.
With 23 seconds left in the 1st, Coach Knight called a timeout to try to manufacture a play to extend their lead to 14. Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, Sam Houston State had other plans. Corey Allmond stole the ball from John Roberson and converted a lay-up at the buzzer to make it a 40-30 Texas Tech lead.
Tech shot 41% from the field in the first half while holding Sam Houston State to 35%.
"That ending wasn't very good, it's going to give them [Sam Houston State] confidence", said Coach Knight at halftime. "We just got lackadaisical; we've had that problem in the past. These kids got to take every ball possession seriously. We got to step it up, this team has confidence. They beat us last year and they beat us our first year here, so we just got to come out like it's 0 to 0."
Coach Knight was referring to his father's first loss in his first year of coaching (2001) at Texas Tech, in which Sam Houston State defeated the Red Raiders, 69-65 in Lubbock.
The opening minutes of the 2nd half were much like the first, with very physical, competitive play. The Bearkats went on a 9-4 run but the Red Raiders responded to make it 67-48 at the 10:30 mark.
Sam Houston State put together another run towards the end of the half, but it wasn't enough to stop the Red Raiders from earning their 2nd win of the season.
Mike Singletary, who was relatively quiet in the season opener, came off the bench with tons of energy on his way to scoring 18 points (7-10 from the floor and 4-5 from the free throw line.)
Singletary also named the RadioLab Player of the Game on the Texas Tech Television Network.
Additionally, he was on the receiving end of the play of the game, which consisted of the open court play of John Roberson dishing the ball to Singletary in the lane to score a layup.
Newcomer Nick Okorie contributed 18 points while John Roberson added 14. D'walyn Roberts, looking much improved over last season, racked up 10 points.
Sam Houston State's Corey Allmond led the team in scoring with 23 points while Lance Pevehouse and DeLuis Ramirez both added 12.
Free throw shooting is definitely an area that needs improvement. Texas Tech shot 52% from the charity stripe (13-25), a stat that could come back to haunt the team against tougher opponents.
The Red Raiders host the Tigers of East Central University from Ada, Oklahoma on Thursday night at 7:00pm Central in the Legends Classic. This is the first round game of the Lubbock Regional in the Legends Classic sponsored by The Gazelle Group.