Before the Louisiana Tech men's basketball team arrived in Lubbock, Tx., legendary Texas Tech head coach Bobby Knight and his Red Raiders were 34-1 in non-conference home games at the United Spirit Arena.
But Tech head coach Keith Richard and the Bulldogs (4-3) saw that record only as an opportunity for history - and that is exactly what happened as the Bulldogs shocked Texas Tech 68-53 infront of 5,445 fans tonight.
Texas Tech entered the contest injury plauged, particulary in the post, but Richard said he was still pleased with the win.
"I'm happy to get this win, even though I know Texas Tech has some injuries," Richard said. "We really played our game plan exactly how we wanted to. Our defense and offense worked as well as I could have hoped for. We defended them for 40 minutes, which is really hard to do with their talent. Our ability to guard the three-point line and rebound really helped us."
Tech junior forward Paul Millsap poured in a season-high 29 points and 14 rebounds, as he led the Bulldogs to their 1,100 win in program history, and Richard said it helped to have the best player.
"Paul (Millsap) was the best player on the floor tonight," Richard said. "He had height in the post, and he really played a tough game."
The Bulldogs out-rebounded Texas Tech 40-25, including 17 offensive rebounds that led to 20 second chance points for the Bulldogs, and Tech also out-scored the Red Raiders 38-24 in the paint and 12-4 in fast break points.
Texas Tech forward Dior Lowhorn made the first two shots of the game and gave the Red Raiders a 4-0 lead, but then the Bulldogs went on a 13-0 run, sparked by two Marcus Elliott three-pointers, and Tech silenced the rowdy crowd before a media timeout at the 15:22 mark of the first half.
During the run, the Bulldogs made five of their first eights shot, including three of five three-pointers. Tech then pushed its lead to 14 points at 23-9 on back-to-back three-pointers by Trey McDowell, but the Red Raiders went on a 6-0 run of their own to chop the lead to 23-15.
The run was stopped by a technical foul called on Knight, and Tech went on to take the 36-26 halftime advantage. In the second half, Texas Tech cut the lead to five points on three different occassions, but every time the Red Raiders made a charge, the Bulldogs responded and maintained the lead.
Jarrius Jackson, Texas Tech's point guard out of Ouachita High School in Monroe, La., led the Red Raiders with 19 points and five rebounds, while Martin Zeno added 16 points, but Richard said Tech defended both well.
"I thought we played good help defense on Jackson and Zeno throughout the game," Richard said. "That defensive effort, combined with our patience on offense which we haven't shown much this year, really helped us win."
The Bulldogs had 17 assists compared to only 11 turnovers, led by senior point guard Daevon Haskins' eight assists. Senior forward Michael Wilds had eight points and a career-high 10 rebounds, and McDowell also finished with eight points. Haskins added six points, and Jerome Richardson rounded out the mix with four points.
Knight's career win total remained at 859, which is the third highest total in NCAA history.
Tech's next contest will be at Southern University in Baton Rouge on Saturday at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on the radio on KXKZ, 107.5 FM.