By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
Big 12 Sports.com Correspondent
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - There wasn't a single reason to expect Texas Tech to rally from a 21-point halftime deficit. But there was a Singletary reason it happened.
Texas Tech sophomore forward Mike Singletary set a Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship record with 43 points as the 11th-seeded Red Raiders stunned sixth-seeded Texas A&M, 88-83, in the final game of Wednesday's first round.
Singletary bettered Marcus Fizer's 38 points, the previous Big 12 Championship high. He scored just eight points in the first half but in the second half he scored 29 consecutive points and 33 of Texas Tech's 35 points at one stretch.
Asked if those stats sounded accurate, Singletary answered, "Yeah. Once I got going a little bit, I was posting up, hitting threes. My teammates have had my back all year, I decided to have their back for once."
The Aggies (23-9) appeared well on their way to their seventh consecutive victory when they pushed their lead to 50-29 one minute into the second half.
At halftime, with his team trailing by 19, Texas Tech coach Pat Knight admitted that he was harsh with his players.
"I can't talk about what I said at halftime," said Knight, who was suspended for a game earlier this year after criticizing officiating. "We've got the best commissioner (Dan Beebe) in the counry and I've caused him enough trouble.
"But I basically called 'em out. We made 'em think it was over. They proved us wrong. This team has two things - heart and cajones. I think I can say that without getting in trouble."
Singletary's dunk with just over 13 minutes remaining pulled the Red Raiders to within 56-44 and set up an incredible closing stretch. From that point until Allan Voskuil's free throws with 26.8 seconds remaining, only Michael Prince scored for Texas Tech.
"We had no answer for him," Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. "We put a big guy on him and he shot threes or drove. We put a little guy on him and he posted up."
Texas A&M, which rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to win at Nebraska a few weeks ago, looked like it would hang on despite Singletary's one-man show. But his low bank shot with 38 seconds gave the Red Raiders their first lead, 79-78.
And when Donald Sloan missed a layup and Voskuil made two free throws, the Aggies had run out of luck.
"We didn't play defense the second half against Missouri," Turgeon said, alluding to the Aggies' regular-season finale last Saturday. "I was beggin' and beggin' them to guard. We just quit. We couldn't get a stop."
What's more amazing is that Singletary's scoring counts as bench points; he didn't start. Asked if Singletary would be in the starting lineup in the quarterfinal game against Missouri, Knight chuckled.
"That's 43 bench points; that's a good stat," he said. "I don't want to ruin that."
In the last week, Texas Tech has upset Kansas and Texas A&M. Next up, the Red Raiders get a chance to shock third-seeded Missouri in Thursday's final quarterfinal game.
* Mike Singletary's 14 field goals also set a Big 12 Championship single-game record.
* Singletary's 43 points is tied for the fourth-highest single-game scoring effort in Texas Tech history. His 43 points also is one point shy of the conference single-game regular-season record.
* Texas Tech is the third No. 11 seed to win a first-round game. Texas Tech had never won a game as a lower seed.
* Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon still thinks the Aggies will earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. "We'll see," he said. "It will be a lot more anxious watching on Sunday than if we had won a game or two here."