Knight’s fiery halftime speech sparks Texas Tech at Colorado
BOULDER, Colo. (AP)—Texas Tech coach Pat Knight stepped out of his usually mild-mannered persona, screaming and yelling at his players at halftime.
His Bobby Knight impression worked. The Red Raiders listened to his fiery chat as they picked up their first Big 12 road win of the season with a 87-69 win over Colorado on Wednesday night.
“Usually, he’s kind of calm,” said John Roberson, who had 20 points. “But he came in fired up, throwing stuff around. We didn’t want to see what he might be like after a loss.”
The screaming was Pat Knight’s way to capture the attention of his players. He was upset at his team’s casualness on the court. So, he uttered some censored words and then challenged them.
“A lot of times when you jump kids, they want to feel sorry,” said Knight, who improved to 2-3 since inheriting the program from his father after the Hall of Fame coach stepped down earlier this month. “They acted like men and got (mad) at me and responded.”
It’s all part of the process of getting to know each other.
“We’re learning about what he wants us to do and we’re getting used to him,” Roberson said. “We’re making the adjustments.”
The Red Raiders (14-11, 5-6 Big 12) looked like a different team in the second half. After leading 35-32 at the break, they built the lead to 21 points on a shot by Roberson with 7:31 remaining.
But the Buffaloes (10-15, 2-9) sliced the lead down to 11 before Texas Tech closed the game out to snap a two-game losing streak in Boulder.
While Knight was satisfied with the win, he wasn’t happy that Colorado worked its way back into the contest.
“We get casual and think they’ll roll over for us,” he said. “I’m proud of their effort. But we still have to play smart basketball. We do too many casual things. They still act like they’re playing in high school and make dumb mistakes at crucial times.”
Alan Voskuil finished with 20 points, Martin Zeno added 14 and Damir Suljagic had 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Red Raiders won on the road for only the second time this season.
Knight’s halftime did the trick. His players didn’t want to let him down.
“We owed coach something,” Voskuil said. “We’ve screwed up a few times and owed him this. We did a better job.”
Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik was irritated with his team’s intensity, especially on defense.
“Am I embarrassed? Yes,” Bzdelik said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a team play that poorly defensively. But give credit to Texas Tech because they taught us a great lesson in how to play.”
Bzdelik said the Buffaloes simply couldn’t match the Red Raiders’ intensity in the second half.
“I can’t coach effort. I can’t,” he said. “That’s what frustrates the heck out of me. I can’t coach it, it’s got to be inside a person.”
Richard Roby had 25 points, tying him with Shaun Vandiver for third place on the Buffaloes’ all-time scoring list with 1,876 points. Roby is 119 points away from tying Donnie Boyce, the school’s scoring leader.
“Roby’s tough,” Knight said. “Anything my dad and I can do to help him get to the next level, we will. You always have to worry about Roby. I’m glad he’s graduating.”
Roby had extra motivation as his half brother, Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin, sat in a courtside seat.
“I think I have a history of playing well when my brother is here,” Roby said.
Martin nodded his head in approval on Roby’s thunderous dunk early in the first half, and clapped when he drilled a long 3-pointer later in the game.
“It’s always fun watching him,” Martin said at halftime. “He’s been playing great all season.”