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New Mexico 68, Texas Tech 70

I apologize for the double post, I hit the "Submit" button when I meant to hit the "Preview" button.

Texas Tech beat New Mexico, 70-68, giving Coach Knight 880 victories, breaking the record formerly held by Dean Smith for all-time victories in Men's Division I basketball.

Tech made this way too close today, but New Mexico is more than a competent squad with some legitimate NBA prospects/athletes and talent.

Player Min. Rbs A Pts Comment
M. Zeno 40 11 3 22 Double-double; always amazes me
M. Prince 25 2 0 0 Did little things not in boxscore
D. Suljagic 9 0 0 2 Better option than Rizvic;needs to rebound
J. Jackson 39 1 1 22 Very efficient today; excellent shot selection
C. Burgess 36 6 0 13 Great 1st half; disappeared in 2nd half
B. Valentine 2 0 0 0 Minimal minutes
D. White 6 3 0 0 Very active on offense and defense
A. Voskuil 15 3 2 9 Consistent play; made play of the game
E. Rizvic 3 0 0 2 Minimal minutes
D. Dora 25 6 2 0 Late turnover could have cost the Raiders

What Tech Did Right: This game was so hard to watch. Tech played about as well as a team could play the first 15 minutes. Burgess was really driving to the bucket, and created a number of easy opportunities for himself and the team. His early easy buckets were crucial. Offensively, Tech was able to get Jackson and Zeno involved in the offense much better and earlier than against UNLV. The perimeter defense was very aggressive early, and really limited the Lobos to few quality 3 point looks. Zeno was a beast on the boards as he grabbed 11 and was relentless at the end of the game. I think it's also as important to commend Zeno on going inside the entire day. He was turned away a couple of times, but he never shied away from contact or from going inside for a tough shot. Jackson did an incredible job of letting the game come to him, he was really efficient offensively, and by the end of the game I was wishing he had tried to score even more. Voskuil, made the play of the game as he saved a ball from going out of bounds with 1:19 left in the game, giving Tech an additional 35 seconds to whittle the game away. Dora rebounded like a power forward should and had 6 boards for the day, while Charlie Burgess's rebounding skills also continue to amaze me.

What Tech Did Wrong: Where to begin. Tech started so strong on the defensive end, but just seemed to fade. Maybe it's because our perimeter guys are playing so many minutes and by the end of the game they are getting worn down. Toppert's three 3-pointers in the 2nd half were real back breakers. Dora's late turnover almost cost Tech the game, and he has been susceptible to poorly timed turnovers in the past, which is why he hasn't started lately as he is looking for consistent play from the post. I would imagine that Knight's philosophy with his big men is that he wants guys out there who aren't going to lose the game for him, and it will probably cost Dora playing time. It seems that so many times the Tech big men just stand there waiting for the rebound to come to them rather than simply blocking out. It can be very frustrating. Burgess, as great as he was early, was really absent late. I am really expecting more from my point guard, 3 turnovers and 0 assists is unacceptable.

With so much good and bad in a game, it's hard to tell what they need to do before facing Oklahoma on Saturday. I love the early aggressive play and the perimeter defense, but hate the lax 2nd half perimeter defense and the lack of direction on the offensive end. I still think that Tech has the opportunity to do some real good in the Big 12.

As far as Knight is concerned, this was obviously a special win for him. It was fairly obvious that Knight really appreciates AD Gerald Meyers and I think that he loves coaching in Lubbock. I think at the end of the game, Knight was more angry at the result of this particular game (allowing New Mexico back into the game) than at the big picture, but as the ceremony proceeded, he seemed to lighten up. I thought that with a national stage, the classiest thing he did was to recognize Dick Vitale and what he's done for the game and that he should be in the basketball hall of fame, as after considering it for a good part of the afternoon, I tend to agree. He tried to make the afternoon more about everyone else than about him, and that's been his attitude all season. A quick side note, I think that Pat is going to be a tremendous head coach some day, and I'm real excited that he'll have that opportunity in Lubbock. I'll try to write more later this week, but you could tell that it was an accomplishment he was glad was over.