Hoops Preview - Texas Tech

Although this Saturday is Apple Cup Saturday, the Washington Huskies men's basketball team will also be in action when it faces the Red Raiders of Texas Tech as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. PST and it will take place in Hec Edmundson Pavilion and will be carried live on Fox Sports Northwest.

Even though this may not seem like a huge game after playing the likes of Kentucky and Michigan State, this has to be a game the Huskies circled on their schedules after last year's defeat in Lubbock, Tex. On Dec. 3rd, UW lost to Tech 99-92 in a game that went to overtime after former Husky Elston Turner failed to make free throws that could have won the game in regulation.

Going into the game, Washington was 5-0 and ranked No. 10 in the country. On the other end, Texas Tech was also undefeated at 7-0. In the first-half, Tech rallied after a slow start to take a 50-41 lead into the break. However, UW shot right back in the second-half and went on a quick 10-2 run. As the second-half winded down, the game went back and forth with several lead changed. With just five seconds remaining, Turner was fouled and sent to the free-throw line in a tied 80-80 game. However, the free-throw bug bit UW again as Turner missed both attempts.

Following the end of regulation, Red Raiders star guard John Roberson took over, scoring eight of his 25 points in the five-minute overtime period.

Tech's season didn't end as well as it started, as they went on to finish 19-16 overall and 4-12 in conference play, while earning an NIT birth and getting knocked out in the quarterfinals by Mississippi.

So far this season, the Pat Knight-led squad is 5-3 and 0-1 on the road with a bad loss to North Texas.

Roberson, now a senior, will be manning the point guard duties for Texas Tech. The 5-foot-11, Plano, Tex. native is averaging 13.5 points a game on just 35 percent shooting. He is also averaging 3.8 assists and two steals. Although he isn't usually turnover prone, he has managed to be less sure-handed as of late with 3.6 turnovers per contest in their last five outings.

Starting next to Roberson at the other guard spot and averaging 11.5 points on 49 percent shooting will be David Tairu. A 6-foot-3 senior, Tairu came to the Red Raiders by way of South Plains College, which is a junior college in Levelland, Tex. The Maryland native came out on fire this season, but has since simmered down. Over the past three games, he has averaged seven points on 27 percent shooting.

Brad Reese, a 6-foot-6 senior, will start the game at the three for Texas Tech. He is averaging 11.6 points on 43 percent shooting, five rebounds, 1.4 steals and one block per game.

At the four is perhaps the player who can be most dominating when his game is on. Mike Singletary, a 6-foot-6 senior who has been a starter for most of his Red Raider career, is averaging 12.8 points and six rebounds per game this season. He is coming off of a 29-point, 13-rebound performance against Oral Roberts. Singletary also helps out on the defensive end, where he is averaging 1.3 steals per game.

The big-man down low for Texas Tech is 6-foot-10, 256-pound Robert Lewandowski. So far this season, the junior from Overland Park, Kan. is raking in 12.3 points per game on a very impressive 70 percent from the field, 6.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. One interesting stat to take note of is his free-throw percentage, which is currently 93 percent through his first 15 attempts. Last season, he shot 15-31, an anemic 48 percent.

With Knight's job potentially on the line this season, look for Texas Tech to come in with some urgency, and even perhaps give Washington a run for their money.

Following this game, No. 22 Washington (4-2) will immediately prepare for the upstart Portland Pilots (7-2), who come to Hec Ed Monday. The game is at home and tipoff will be at 7 p.m. PST.


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