With 18:42 left in the second half it looked like the Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-18, 3-13) season was getting closer to coming to an end, trailing 50-29 to the Texas A&M Aggies (23-9, 9-7).
Tech head coach Pat Knight has said that his players have fought hard all season. Led by Mike Singletary the Red Raiders rallied to an 88-83 victory in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City.
Singletary, who averages 11.1 points per game, scored a Big 12 tournament record and a career high of 43 points. 35 of those points came in the last 13 minutes of the game.
In the first half, Texas A&M dominated starting the game with a 15-2 run in the opening six minutes. Tech started the game shooting 0-for-10 from the field and turned the ball over four times. Singletary made Tech’s first basket with 13:16 left in the first half.
The closest the Red Raiders would get to A&M in the first half was nine points. Tech had 12 first half turnovers. A&M led 48-29 at halftime.
After the Aggies scored the first two points of the second half on a pair of Bryan Davis free throws, Darko Cohadarevic scored six points in a 17-second time span to cut A&M’s lead to 52-35. Cohadarevic scored 10 points.
A&M would increase their lead to 18 with 15 minutes left in the half. Donald Sloan and Chinemelu Elonu both made layups giving the Aggies a 56-38 lead.
In the last 15 minutes, the Red Raiders started their rally. Nick Okorie and Alan Voskuil both made layups to cut the lead to 56-42. Michael Prince got a steal that led to an easy dunk by Singletary, which cut A&M’s lead to 56-44 with 13:03 left in the game.
With Tech down 60-50 with 10 minutes left in the game, Singletary would score Tech’s next 29 points, scoring the game-winning basket with 44 seconds left. Singletary’s 29 consecutive points without a teammate scoring is the second longest in the NCAA. Bill Mlkvy of Temple scored 54 in a row in a game against Wilkes in 1951.
Voskuil’s two free throws with 26 seconds left ended Singletary’s consecutive point run and gave Tech an 81-78 lead. John Roberson extended the lead to five with 16 seconds left, making two free throws.
The Aggies were not going to let the Red Raiders clinch the comeback too easily. Josh Carter hit a three-pointer with nine seconds left to cut Tech’s lead to 83-81.
After Roberson was fouled a second later, he missed his second free throw. Roberson fouled Sloan with four seconds left, and Sloan made both free throws cutting Tech’s lead to one. Voskuil was fouled with three seconds left and extended Tech’s lead to three.
Derrick Roland turned the ball over and Singletary clinched the game for Tech hitting both free throws.
The Red Raiders have won two of their last three games and avoided being swept by Texas A&M.
Along with Singletary’s 43, Voskuil scored 14 points and Cohadarevic scored his second best season total (10). Cohadarevic scored 12 points against Stephen F. Austin last December.
Voskuil led the team in rebounds with seven and Roberson led the team in assists with four.
The Aggies’ loss ended a six-game winning streak in the Big 12 and a three-game winning streak against Tech.
Sloan led A&M in scoring with 22, Carter scored 15, Davis scored 11, and Elonu scored 10. Carter led the team in rebounds with eight, and Sloan led the team in assists with three.
The Red Raiders will face the third seeded Missouri Tigers (25-6, 12-4) Thursday, while the Aggies will have to wait until Selection Sunday to learn their fate.