COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)—Even the imperious Bob Knight knows when to step aside and let his team take control.
Knight chose not to take a timeout with 6 seconds left, the game tied and his Red Raiders with the ball.
And it paid off.
Jarrius Jackson hit a jumper at the buzzer to give Texas Tech a 77-75 win over No. 6 Texas A&M on Tuesday night, ending a five-game losing streak.
“I think it would have been a hell of a mistake if we’d have called timeout because we’d have never gotten a break like that,” Knight said. “I didn’t call timeout and that’s why these kids deserve an awful lot of credit for getting it in and getting it down the floor.”
Acie Law tied the game with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6 seconds left, before Jackson drove the length of the court and pulled up for the winning score. The crowd sat in stunned silence for a few seconds while officials looked at a replay of the basket before declaring it good.
“He came down and had presence of mind enough to know how much time was left,” Knight said of Jackson. “He made a shot fake that cleared his shot and then he hit it. He handled that extremely well at the end.”
Jackson finished with 31 points and helped Knight avoid matching the worst losing streak in his career. The only time Knight lost six straight was in 1970-71, his last season with Army.
Jackson was shocked that Texas A&M wasn’t “all in his face” at the end.
“I was very surprised because I thought they were going to double team me when I got past half court,” he said. “But they stayed in man-to-man so I just thought I would take advantage of it.”
“He was hot all night and that’s how you cap it off—with the game winner,” Law said.
The win is Tech’s second of the season over the Aggies and they remain the only Big 12 team to beat A&M (21-4, 9-2 Big 12) this season.
The loss breaks a five-game winning streak for A&M, which hadn’t lost since their last game with Tech, and also snaps a streak of 21-straight home wins.
It’s a nice change for Tech, which has suffered two straight heartbreaking losses in the final seconds. The Red Raiders lost in double-overtime to Oklahoma State by two on Saturday and were beaten by Nebraska on a last-second shot a week ago.
Knight thinks that the recent struggles of his team could have caused the Aggies to let down their guard a bit.
“We’ve been having some problems with finishing games,” he said. “We haven’t played real well and sometimes that can hurt a team that’s as good as A&M. So we perhaps were able to take advantage of that a little bit.”
The Red Raiders (16-10, 5-6) led 74-70 before a putback by Joseph Jones got A&M within two with 32 remaining. Charlie Burgess hit a free throw to make it 75-72 before Law’s basket.
Law led the Aggies with 23 points and Jones and Antanas Kavaliauskas added 18 each.
Texas A&M led by double digits through most of the first half and early in the second half, but the Red Raiders took the lead with 10 minutes to go. The game was back and forth for a span after that with no team getting ahead by more than a basket before Texas Tech went ahead 67-63 on a jumper by Decensae White with 3:36 remaining.
“It all came down to we didn’t guard well enough,” Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie said.
Law got A&M back within 2 on a jumper of his own before Jackson and Martin Zeno hit back-to-back baskets to give Tech a 71-65 lead. Zeno had 19 points and six assists and White added 10 points.
Texas A&M led 52-45 when Knight drew a technical for jawing with an official about a foul call. Law made one of the technical foul shots to push the lead to eight, but the Red Raiders looked inspired after Knight’s outburst and outscored the Aggies 8-2 over the next 2 1/2 minutes. A reverse layup by Zeno with about 10 minutes to go gave Tech its first lead of the game, 55-54.
The Red Raiders trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but got back in it by laying off of the outside shot and aggressively attacking the basket. Threes by White and Jackson on consecutive possessions cut the lead to 47-43 with about 14 minutes remaining.
“We had a chance to put it away several times and we just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” Gillispie said.
The Aggies entered the game having held 35 straight opponents to less than 50 percent shooting, which was the longest streak in the nation. The Red Raiders shot 51.9 percent to break the streak.