7:30 PM ET, March 3, 2004
United Spirit Arena, Lubbock, Texas
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Texas Tech coach Bob Knight won't predict whether his team's win over Missouri, the 20th of the season, is crucial to the Red Raiders getting into the NCAA tournament. He says he always waits for the pairings.Tech snapped a two-game losing streak Wednesday night, beating the Tigers 87-76 in a victory fueled by Andre Emmett's 28 points."I've never thought that we were ever in the NCAA tournament until I saw the pairings as long as I've coached," Knight said.Tech has won at least 20 games a season for three straight years, all under Knight. For the 63-year-old coach, it is his eighth straight season of 20 or more wins, dating to the 1995-96 season when his Indiana team finished second in the Big 10. It's the first time Tech as had three straight 20-win seasons.Trailing Missouri by three at the half, the Red Raiders came out and used a 19-6 run to take a 60-50 lead with 13:41 remaining. Ronald Ross scored eight of the 19 points, all layups.Tech (20-9, 8-7 Big 12) built its largest lead at 72-56 when Emmett stole a Tigers inbounds pass and put in a layup and a free throw with 10:37 left.Tech scored 31 points in less than 10 minutes in the second half, missing on only one of 17 possessions. The Red Raiders failed to score on the next five possessions, however, and the Tigers used an 18-9 run to whittle the lead to 78-74 on layup by Jason Conley that was ruled good because of a goal-tending call with 3:07 remaining.Missouri (15-11, 9-6) got no closer.Knight credits his team with stemming the comeback."They came back and battled back and put it in a position when we weren't in danger of losing it in the last minute and a half," he said.The first part of the second half was the best his team has played all season, Knight said."From a coaching standpoint, you wonder when you do play well why don't we play well all the time," he said. "I don't know what the hell the answer to that one is."Missouri coach Quin Snyder said Tech came out on fire."They knocked us back in the second half, but we kind of dug in defensively and came back," he said. "Any time you're down 13 to 15 points on the road to a team like that, you have to do something spectacular to win, and that didn't happen tonight."The Tigers turned the ball over 16 times and Tech scored 27 points on those mistakes."It was our defense," Emmett said. "We got some easy buckets off defense. We preach defense, and we finally got back to playing Texas Tech basketball."Tech, on the other hand, committed only four turnovers."I'm not sure I've ever had a team play in a game with only four turnovers," Knight said.Jarrius Jackson scored 19 points, while Ross added 15 for Tech.The loss stopped the Tigers' six-game win streak, which included a 93-92 overtime win over No. 8 Oklahoma State in late February.Arthur Johnson scored 24 points and Jimmy McKinney added 14 for the Tigers.Missouri led 44-41 at halftime.