Nebraska beats Texas Tech, 82-69; Knight ejected
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)—Nebraska coach Doc Sadler has been where Pat Knight was Saturday night.
Ade Dagunduro scored 20 points and Sadler’s Cornhuskers held on for an 82-69 victory against Texas Tech despite a Red Raiders rally sparked by Knight’s ejection.
Sadler said there have been plenty of times he got technicals to try to get his team going.
“When you’re in a ball game, you’re just doing everything you can to try to do whatever to give your team a chance to win,” Sadler said. “You’re going to fight, man. Your players see that and they respect it.
“I thought his team responded very, very positively. The crowd definitely did.”
The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Cornhuskers (13-7, 3-4 Big 12). They led by 17 points midway through the second half before Texas Tech pulled within 72-67 with 3:16 remaining.
The Red Raiders (11-10, 1-5) lost for the sixth time in seven games, but not before coming to life after Knight erupted off the bench with about nine minutes remaining in the game and sprinted across the court when officials called a foul on Alan Voskuil.
Knight confronted one official on the far sideline and got his first technical. He then went to midcourt and yelled at another official, who gave him the second technical, triggering the ejection.
His assistants pulled him away and led him off the floor. He appeared to have left the court, but suddenly appeared moments later and ran to midcourt to yell at the officials some more.
The crowd cheered wildly for the son of the famously volatile Bob Knight, the all-time winningest men’s major college coach with 902 victories.
The younger Knight took over at Texas Tech when his dad abruptly retired last season. One of Bob Knight’s most memorable acts was tossing a chair across the court during a tirade at Indiana, where he won his three national championships.
Pat Knight told reporters after the game to not “read too much into” his reaction.
“My job is to protect my players,” he said. “If you all didn’t see what happened, then that’s your fault. Just see what happened. My job is to protect my players and you can only sit there and take so much. And so I got to protect my boys. That’s my job.”
Asked if he just reached a breaking point after watching officials make other calls with which he disagreed, Knight declined to comment.
“I’m not going to get into the officiating,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious what I did and what my feelings are. I left them out there on the court, so it’s pretty obvious.”
John Roberson led Texas Tech with 19 points, but he fouled out after the Red Raiders had pulled within five. Dagunduro made both free throws after Roberson’s fifth foul, and Nebraska pulled away from there.
Nebraska showed Tech a press most of the first half and sporadically in the second.
Sadler said using it gave his team confidence. But Tech adjusted and attacked the pressure well after the halftime break.
“They got two back-to-back lay-ups, basically,” Sadler said. “I just don’t have the confidence to stay in it on the road or I probably would’ve stayed in it. When you attack it, it’s hard to defend.”
Knight said his players didn’t handle Nebraska’s press well, though the Cornhuskers’ use of it “was not a surprise.” Tech finished with 20 turnovers, 15 in the first half.
“You can’t turn the ball over that much against a team like that,” Knight said. “We really hurt ourselves by turning the ball over so much.”
Knight said he was pleased with the effort of his players after the ejection.
“But why do we got to wait until the last nine minutes?” he said. “Honestly, I’m not very pleased at all. What if you do that for 40 minutes? What’s the outcome going to be?”