Singletary’s 43 helps TTech rally from 21 down
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)—Mike Singletary single-handedly fueled a scintillating comeback that put Texas Tech in the Big 12 record books and left Texas A&M feeling a little less secure about its postseason prospects.
Singletary led the biggest rally in Big 12 tournament history, scoring all 29 of Texas Tech’s points during a second-half surge that pushed the Red Raiders to a 88-83 win against the Aggies on Wednesday night.
Singletary finished with 43 points to break the tournament scoring record of 38 set by Iowa State’s Marcus Fizer in 2000 against Baylor.
“I was just in the zone, I think,” Singletary said. “We didn’t want to lose this game. We didn’t want to go home.”
Texas Tech advances to play No. 14 Missouri on Thursday.
The last basket in Singletary’s amazing stretch was a driving layup past Bryan Davis that put the Red Raiders (14-18) up 79-78 with 39.4 seconds left and erased the last part of a 21-point deficit. Alan Voskuil and John Roberson followed with a pair of free throws apiece to push the lead to five.
Singletary, a sophomore whose previous scoring best was 25 points, then iced the game with two more free throws with 2.9 seconds left that provided the final margin.
“Once I got going, posting up and hitting 3s, I felt like I was going to have a good night, and my teammates kept getting me the ball,” Singletary said. His run of consecutive points without a teammate scoring is the second longest in NCAA history, behind only the 54 in a row by Bill Mlkvy of Temple in a game against Wilkes on March 3, 1951.
Donald Sloan scored 22 points and Josh Carter added 15 for the Aggies (23-9), who punctuated a six-game winning streak by beating No. 14 Missouri on Saturday to hand the NCAA selection committee a good looking resume—except for the stain left by this ugly loss to the 11th-seeded Red Raiders.
“I think we were solidly in because of what we accomplished—finishing (tied for) fourth in the Big 12—and Texas Tech’s a pretty hot team. They did beat Kansas seven days or eight days ago. It wasn’t like it was a big fluke or anything,” Aggies coach Mark Turgeon said. “We’ll see.
“It’ll be a lot more anxious than it would have been if we would have won a game or two. I know that.”
Texas Tech, which eclipsed the record of a 20-point comeback set by Kevin Durant and Texas two years ago, would have to become the first Big 12 team to win four tournament games in as many days to make it to the NCAAs.
“Normally, teams would have given up three or four weeks ago. These guys just haven’t given up, and I think this is a great indication of that,” Red Raiders coach Pat Knight said.
Davis opened the second half with a pair of free throws to put A&M ahead 50-29. Darko Cohadarevic then hit back-to-back baskets to get Tech’s offense off to a better start than the first half, when the Red Raiders missed their first 10 shots to fall into a 15-2 hole.
But the rally really got started once Singletary—who didn’t even start— got rolling.
He converted Michael Prince’s steal into a right-handed jam that cut the deficit to 56-44 with 13:02 remaining and soon after added a driving layup that got Tech back within single digits for the first time since the opening drought.
That started a 9-minute stretch in which Singletary outscored A&M 29-18 to give Tech the lead for the first time.
He had a personal 7-0 run that got the lead down to 65-59 on a 3-pointer from the right wing with 6:08 left, and he had a chance to tie it at 67 before missing a free throw on the back end of a bonus situation.
The Red Raiders kept going back to him, though, and he finally tied the score at 75 on a 3-pointer from right in front of the bench with 1:36. That brought his teammates to their feet immediately, and it wasn’t long before they had the lead to celebrate, too.
Knight, the son of college basketball icon Bob Knight, didn’t know what to say in the locker room afterward.
“It was the first time I’ve been speechless,” he said. “I let them have the last word.”
It wasn’t that way at halftime, when it appeared the Aggies were on their way to a second 40-point win in the series in as many years. Voskuil, who finished with 14 points, suggested that the Red Raiders started to believe a comeback was possible when their defensive pressure started leading to baskets.
Knight thought otherwise.
“He’s being too politically correct. His last name’s not Knight,” he said. “I think I really (ticked) them off at halftime, to be honest. They were kind of not feeling thrilled to be out on the court. He can give you all the politically correct stuff but if you want to be honest, I think they kind of wanted to prove me wrong.”