Texas Tech gets defensive in winning streak

BY foxsports • December 21, 2009

Texas Tech stumbled to 14-19 in its first full season under Pat Knight, winning only three conference games last year.

Everything has changed this season, thanks to a renewed focus on the defensive end.

The No. 16 Red Raiders were off to a 9-0 start heading into Saturday night's game at Wichita State and closing in on the school-record 12-game winning streak to open a season, set in 1929.

``Everything's just going our way right now, and it's a great feeling,'' said junior forward Mike Singletary, who dropped 20 pounds in the offseason and is leading the team with 14.2 points per game.

Knight said the problem last season was his emphasis on offense. Texas Tech has buckled down on the defensive end so far, holding opponents to 63.7 points per game after yielding 78.8 on average last season.

The Red Raiders' 99-92 overtime win over then-No. 12 Washington on Dec. 3 moved them into the rankings for the first time since 2005.

``From a player's standpoint, it's great, especially after having a down year last year,'' Knight said. ``It just kind of gives kids confidence that they can play with the better teams in the country.''

Texas Tech is in line for a stiff test when it faces the 9-1 Shockers on the road. It will be the Red Raiders' first game since an 80-70 victory on Dec. 8 at TCU, where they were buoyed a strong contingent of Texas Tech fans.

``It's not going to be that way at Wichita,'' said Knight, who took over the team from his father, Bob Knight, in February 2008. ``Playing in that environment will be tough but we have to. We've got to start playing in some hostile environments - just putting ourselves on the butcher's block will help us, I think, when we play on the road in the Big 12.''

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