Jerrells leads Baylor over Texas Tech with new Knight, 80-74
WACO, Texas (AP)—When Pat Knight walked onto the court for his Texas Tech head coaching debut Wednesday night, a Baylor student yelled “Where’s Your Daddy?”
Bob Knight wasn’t there, and it was very obvious at times with some of the things the Red Raiders were doing under his son—and successor. They were trapping on defense, doing screen zones and just putting a lot of pressure on the ball.
“I asked them to do a lot of things they weren’t used to doing,” Pat Knight said. “They did a heck of a job for me. For my first game to get that kind of effort, that’s all I can ask.”
Still, it wasn’t enough for the 37-year-old Knight to win his first game— leaving him still 902 wins shy of his father’s NCAA record in men’s Division I after an 80-74 loss to the Bears.
Despite their effort for the new head coach, the Red Raiders (12-9, 3-4 Big 12) couldn’t overcome missing 10 of their last 11 field goals before halftime, then having six turnovers in a 2-minute span right after the break when Baylor stretched its lead to 12 points.
Curtis Jerrells led Baylor (17-4, 5-2) with 16 points, including a 3-pointer followed by an inside bucket in that 12-1 spurt right after halftime.
The Bears snapped a two-game losing streak that had knocked them out of the Top 25 after they were in the national rankings for the first time since 1969.
“They’re still a Knight-coached team,” Baylor’s Aaron Bruce said. “They caught us at a bad time. We were really hungry and wanted to win.”
Bob Knight’s sudden resignation this week after 42 years set up a coaching change that had long been planned, but wasn’t expected until at least after this season. He wasn’t in Waco for the game.
With only two days or preparation before his first game, Pat Knight started trying to put his own imprint on the team—and didn’t worry about what anybody else thought.
“Honestly, I don’t care. I’m the head coach, not to be rude,” Knight said. “But I’m the head coach, and I think it proved that it worked. I’ve got to be my own man now. You’ve got to understand, I actually learned all that stuff from him. I didn’t do anything he didn’t teach me.”
The Red Raiders’ own miscues put them in a hole they couldn’t overcome— even though they managed to cut a 14-point deficit to three at 74-71 on John Roberson’s 3-pointer with 33 seconds left before Baylor made six straight free throws.
Consecutive turnovers and a foul less than 2 minutes into the second half prompted Knight to call timeout. After the coach sat back down, staring at the ground and rubbing his temples with both hands, the Red Raiders quickly had two more turnovers.
After Jerrells hit a 3-pointer, Knight stood with his hands on his hips when Tech leading scorer Martin Zeno committed his fourth foul on a charge with 16:41 left. Jerrells then scored on the other end to put Baylor up 47-37.
Another timeout didn’t help the Red Raiders. Right after play resumed, Kevin Rogers stole a pass and turned that into a breakaway slam and a 49-37 lead. Jerrells turned a later turnover into a breakaway layup and free throw.
“Our defensive intensity picked up a little bit,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Once you get a couple of turnovers and some easy baskets, it gets you more excited to play defense.”
Mike Singletary had 20 points for Texas Tech, which dropped to 1-7 on the road—0-4 in the Big 12. Alan Voskuil added 16, including four 3-pointers.
LaceDarius Dunn and Josh Loomers, with glue on his middle shooting finger to seal busted skin, added 14 points each for Baylor. Kevin Rogers had 10.
The Red Raiders had a 17-8 lead after Mike Singletary’s jumper 5 1/2 minutes into the game.
“Wow, Coach Knight to Coach Knight is definitely a little different,” Drew said. “Press, zone, some things that you wouldn’t expect.”
But after Singletary made a jumper, then added a three-point play for a 21-15 lead with 11:05 left, the Red Raiders went into their shooting slump.
During parts of the game, before which Knight was admittedly nervous, he took notes in a small pad he held in his hand. He alternated between sitting in his seat and pacing the sideline.
Pat Knight spent a decade as a college assistant. The only season he wasn’t with his father was 2000-01, when Bob Knight didn’t coach between his departure from Indiana and his hiring at Tech.
While disappointed with losing, Knight still had “a blast” coaching his first game.
“I haven’t had this much fun since I played,” he said. “I haven’t felt this much nervousness or energy since I was lacing it up and playing for my dad.”