Unhappy with the way his team is playing, Texas Tech coach Pat Knight would like to see a more determined squad in 2010.
The No. 20 Red Raiders have a chance to satisfy their coach as they open the new year against visiting McNeese State on Friday.
Knight would certainly like to see a better effort from his team after Texas Tech fell (10-2) fell 90-75 at No. 19 New Mexico on Tuesday. The Red Raiders have lost two of three since starting 9-0, leaving their coach to wonder where the desire his team showed during the first month of the season has gone.
“I have a satisfied team in Texas Tech right now,” Knight said. “We got to get back to being hungry.”
The Red Raiders also need to improve on the defensive end, where they are giving up 84.8 points per contest in their last five games after allowing an average of 58.7 in the first seven.
Against New Mexico, Texas Tech allowed its most points in regulation and committed a season-high 31 fouls.
“When you score 70-some points, that’s enough to win,” Knight said. “When teams get beat, you’ve got to look at the defense. You can’t give up 90 points and expect to win.
“We just aren’t guarding the ball well right now. We are not moving our feet.”
Knight, however, isn’t displeased with his team’s offensive effort. Behind leading scorers Mike Singletary (14.8 points per game) and John Roberson (13.8 ppg), the Red Raiders are averaging 80.3 points on the season and 87.4 in their last five games.
Singletary and Roberson, however, look to bounce back after combining for 14 points against New Mexico. Junior David Tairu had 18 points and senior guard Nick Okorie added 14 as the Red Raiders shot a season-low 41.0 percent against the Lobos.
Texas Tech has a chance to get back on track in its second meeting against McNeese State (5-7). The Red Raiders won that initial contest with the Cowboys, 69-56 on Dec. 2, 1977.
McNeese stays in Texas after falling 75-62 at Rice on Monday to fall to 1-5 on the road. The Cowboys head to Baton Rouge to face intrastate rival LSU after this contest.
“It doesn’t get much easier from here,” McNeese coach Dave Simmons told the school’s official Web site.
Led by senior guard Diego Kapelan (13.1 ppg), McNeese faces its second ranked opponent after losing 83-67 at then-No. 25 Mississippi on Dec. 12. The Cowboys have lost their last nine games against Top 25 teams since the beginning of the 1996-97 season.
Kapelan hit eight 3-pointers and finished with 31 points against Rice, but was the only player in double figures for McNeese, which shot 34.5 percent.
“Diego had a great game,” Simmons said. “Unfortunately he didn’t get much help anywhere else. We need to get some consistency. Only having one guy in double figures is a problem.”
Kapelan is averaging 25.0 points in his last two games.