Saturday, November 12, 2011

Texas Tech hangs on to beat Troy, 90-85


— Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie saw plenty his young team needs to work on, but acknowledged his players came through down the stretch en route to beating Troy 90-85 on Friday night.

"We needed to finish plays and we needed to rebound," Gillispie said. "If we would have done those things, we would have had a wide margin of victory."

Ty Nurse scored 29 points to lead Texas Tech, giving Billy Gillispie his first win after two years away from coaching.

Nurse hit 6 of 9 3-pointers and was 9 of 13 from the field.

"Ty was consistent with his effort and getting into the flow of the game," Gillispie said. "If he wouldn't have worked as hard (to find a rhythm), we wouldn't have won."

The Trojans tied the game at 56 with about 13 minutes remaining, but Texas Tech used an 11-3 run to go up 67-59. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Nurse and Javarez Willis put the Red Raiders up 75-67 with about seven minutes left.

The Trojans pulled within 88-85 late, but a dunk by Robert Lewandowski with less than 20 seconds in the game sealed the win for Texas Tech (1-0).

Will Weathers scored 24 points to lead Troy (0-1) on 8 of 16 shooting from the field. In one two and a half minute stretch, Weathers scored eight straight points - three field goals and two free throws - for the Trojans.

The Red Raiders hit 10 of 19 from beyond the arc.

"It was tough to get the ball inside in the second half but we were able to open out with 3-pointers, obviously," Nurse said.

Gillispie is two seasons removed from his firing at Kentucky. Red Raiders fans are hopeful he can turn around Texas Tech's program like he did at UTEP and Texas A&M.;

Gillispie in 2004 led UTEP to its first NCAA appearance since 1992 after it went 24-8 and won a share of the Western Athletic Conference title. At A&M;, he led the Aggies to three consecutive 20-win seasons and Gillispie was chosen AP Big 12 coach of the year in 2005. In 2007, the Aggies lost 65-64 to Memphis in an NCAA regional semifinal.

The Red Raiders had a good crowd for Gillispie's debut. The announced crowd was over 10,000, but it did not appear that many people were at the game. Still, it was a far cry from the paltry crowds near the end of Pat Knight's time at Texas Tech.

The game doesn't mean anything in the big picture, Gillispie said.

"It's fun to be back in the game again, especially when you have a great home crowd like we had," he said. "It was great."

Gillispie, moved up and down the sideline throughout the game, screaming instructions to his players and getting on their cases when they did something wrong.

The coaching staff came decked out in suits and ties, a noticeable change from the casual polo shirt and slacks that Bob Knight and his son, Pat, used to sport for games.

Gillispie replaced Pat Knight, who was fired in March after going 50-61 in 3 1/2 seasons. Knight failed to lead the Red Raiders to the NCAA tournament after taking the reins when his famous father resigned during the 2008 season. Pat Knight now coaches at Lamar.

Kentucky fired Gillispie after the Wildcats went 40-27 in his two seasons and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years.


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