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Texas Tech Dismisses Third-Seeded Gonzaga

Texas Tech 71, Gonzaga 69

By Steve Argeris
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page E01

TUCSON, March 19 -- Texas Tech assistant coach Pat Knight ran into the McKale Center stands, hoping to celebrate the sixth-seeded Red Raiders' 71-69 upset of No. 3 seed Gonzaga in the Albuquerque Region with his wife.

But out of the corner of his eye, he caught his father and boss, Bob Knight, waving his own wife, Karen, to the floor, and instead grabbed his stepmother and dragged her to midcourt. So as the camera lights went on for his postgame interview, Bob Knight met the world with his wife, whom he cites as the second-most knowledgeable basketball person he knows, after legendary Cal Coach Pete Newell.

Texas Tech's Devonne Giles blocks his only shot at the expense of Gonzaga's Adam Morrison, who scored a game-high 25 points. (Matt York -- AP)

"My wife's a better coach than I am," Knight said. "Thanks to her for her preparedness, she deserves to be a part of this. . . . She thinks I do a lousy job with our post players. I just wanted to tell her that I told them what she was telling me."

The fishing rod will stay in the closet for another week, as Knight returns to the round of 16 for the first time since 1994 at Indiana.

Four years removed from a run of three consecutive round-of-16 trips, Gonzaga (26-5) was ousted in the second round for the third consecutive season.

It is just the second time Texas Tech (22-10) has won two NCAA tournament games -- and the only one that counts in the record books, since the 1996 trip was vacated because of NCAA violations.

If it was indeed Karen Knight's advice to emphasize Texas Tech's post play, it could not have been more prescient. The Red Raiders' post players were responsible for the dramatic 13-point comeback in the second half. While being out-rebounded by 13 in the first half -- and allowing Gonzaga to rebound 10 of its 21 missed shots -- the Red Raiders looked vastly different from the team that handled 11th-seeded UCLA on Thursday.

But in the second half, after some choice words from Knight, Texas Tech forwards Devonne Giles and Darryl Dora accounted for 14 points and eight rebounds after contributing a combined four points and one rebound in the first. It was enough help for the freewheeling guard trio of Ronald Ross (24 points), Jarrius Jackson (18 points) and Martin Zeno (11 points and five assists), who began running Knight's motion offense to perfection. The Red Raiders shot 57 percent in the second half after shooting 41 percent in the first, largely off an 18-17 second-half rebounding advantage.

"They exploited our zone throughout," Gonzaga Coach Mark Few said. "I think they hurt us on the glass more than anything. . . . The box-outs killed us. They shot 57 percent [in the second half], and that's where they won the game."

But nothing was bigger than the two rebounds from Giles in the final minute. First, he grabbed a missed free throw by Ronny Turiaf with 49 seconds remaining. Then, most critically, he snatched a missed three-point attempt from Adam Morrison with 15 seconds remaining, calling time out as he fell out of bounds.

Morrison and Turiaf, the Bulldogs' two stars, largely were held in check. Morrison scored 25 points (after scoring 27 against 14th-seeded Winthrop on Thursday), but he was made to work for them, getting bumped and elbowed every chance the Red Raiders got. They did their best to tire Morrison, hoping the cumulative effect would be enough to bother him at the end -- such as Morrison's final missed three-pointer.

"We knew coming in he hadn't played anyone as physical or as intense as us, because of the conference they're in," said Zeno, who did most of the bumping. "Coach Knight told us before the game that he's a great player and he's going to get his points, but we have to make him earn them."

The balancing act was difficult -- the Red Raiders played physical defense but largely avoided putting Gonzaga on the free throw line, committing just 14 fouls. Morrison shot just six free throws, and the Bulldogs attempted 18 free throws, seven fewer than their average. They also shot poorly from the line, making 50 percent, far lower than their customary 74 percent.

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