LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)—Mark Turgeon knew his team was tired after playing three games in 10 days, so he was grateful for the fortitude shown by No. 22 Texas A&M as it gutted out a 70-67 win over Texas Tech on Saturday.
The Aggies won and lost games in overtime in that span and got beaten badly by No. 3 Texas on Jan. 31.
“I was really concerned about our energy level,” Turgeon said. “I thought they showed great toughness because we had no energy at the start of the game and we just kind of willed our way back into it.”
Khris Middleton scored 16 points to lead the Aggies, who overcame a 10-point deficit in the first half to hand the Red Raiders their third straight loss.
D’wayln Roberts made a layup to pull Texas Tech within 68-67 with less than 15 seconds left. B.J. Holmes hit two free throws to give the Aggies a 70-67 lead and 3-point tries by Brad Reese and John Roberson missed their mark.
The Aggies outrebounded Texas Tech 34-27 and got nearly half their points inside. Texas Tech coach Pat Knight said he thought his defense held its own in the paint.
“They weren’t killing us inside. We did a good job,” he said. “I thought we came out of that situation pretty good.”
Holmes added 14 points for A&M (19-5, 6-4).
Reese scored 18 points to lead Texas Tech (11-14, 3-7).
Texas A&M had lost four of its last five games before pulling out a win in overtime at Colorado on Wednesday.
The Aggies scored seven straight points to start the second half, going up 46-37. Texas Tech came back with 9-2 run, including four points by Reese, a basket by Jaye Crockett and a 3-pointer by David Tairu to pull within 48-46.
The Red Raiders regained the lead, which they relinquished late in the first half, on a layup and a free throw by Roberts to go up 50-48. Middleton tied it at 54 on a layup and put them ahead on a jumper on their next possession to give the Aggies a 56-54 lead with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Texas Tech pulled ahead 65-63 with 3:33 remaining when Roberson hit a 3, but a few minutes later he had the ball stolen by Dash Harris who got the basket to make it 67-65 and put the Aggies up for good.
“We practice late-game situations every week,” said Nathan Walkup, who finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Aggies. “We work on execution. Every time we’re in a close game we feel a little more and more comfortable. It showed in these last couple of games.”
Knight was disappointed in his team’s overall play.
“There were a lot of bad plays we made. Passes, shots, missed layups, free throws, missed block outs, falling asleep when you’re on a guy and they get 3s, so there’s a lot to be learned from this game,” he said.
Mike Singletary, the Red Raiders’ leading scorer, played just 4 minutes because of a calf problem that Knight said he didn’t know about before the game.
Turgeon found Texas Tech more difficult without Singletary.
“They were hard to guard,” he said. “They had us spaced out.”
The Aggies led 39-37 at halftime.
Texas Tech started fast and A&M appeared sluggish. The Red Raiders led 18-8 when their regular starter Mike Singletary came in. The substitution proved beneficial for the Aggies, who used a 13-3 run to tie it at 21 with 8:05 remaining. Later, they used a 7-1 run, including a 3-pointer by Holmes and a basket each by Middleton and Walkup.
Tech turned the Aggies’ eight turnovers into 13 points.