LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -- Texas Tech coach Bob Knight has been
disappointed with the way his team has started games this season
and he hasn't exactly been pleased with the way the Red Raiders
have finished them, either.
Texas Tech again stumbled out of the gate Thursday night,
trailing New Mexico State 14-6 early on. But Tech finished strong
and the result was a hard-fought 69-63 win over the Aggies.
Thanks to an efficient offense, a solid rebounding edge and free
throws down the stretch, the Red Raiders (7-6) got their first road
win of the season. Tech made 5-of-6 free throws in the final 36
seconds to clinch the win.
"We got a little spread there at the end," said Knight.
"(Jarrius) Jackson missed a free throw, but other than that, we
did everything we needed to do there at the end of the game and
that's the first time this year that we've done that."
Jackson and fellow guard Martin Zeno combined for 45 points to
pace the Red Raiders. Jackson scored a game-high 24 points and Zeno
NMSU held its last lead, 54-53, with 5:18 to play when Tech's
offensive patience began to pay off. When the Red Raiders weren't
getting the ball inside for easy baskets, they were draining free
Tech took the lead for good, 55-54, with 4:15 to play on an
inside basket by Zeno, then went ahead by three when Jackson sank a
pair of free throws with 3:57 to play.
Nelson scored on an inside bucket for NMSU to make it 57-56, but
Jackson and Zeno each sank two more free throws to put Tech up
The Aggies remained close thanks to a pair of free throws and a
high-arching 3-pointer by Ingram and a driving basket by Nelson.
But Tech put the game away with free throws in the final 1:40.
"This was the best team we've beaten this year," Knight said.
Tech held a 34-26 rebounding advantage and got 22 second-chance
points, compared to only four for NMSU.
While the Red Raiders did most of their damage inside, the
Aggies tried to strike from 3-point range but made only eight of 22
attempts. Tech was 4-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc.
First-year Aggie coach Reggie Theus pointed to the 3-point
difference as an example of his team's inability to make good
decisions on offense. He called the 3s "fool's gold."
"Obviously, (the Red Raiders) are very well coached," Theus
said. "They run their stuff until they get a good look. From a
talent standpoint, they're very average. They have a couple of real
solid players, but they just run their stuff. This game is very
simple, but we make it hard."