Texas Tech finds change hard to make over-Knight

Friday, December 7, 2001

LUBBOCK, Texas -- After seven games, Bob Knight has little doubt about the work ethic of his Texas Tech players.

But hard work isn't the end-all for Knight. It has to translate into solid and consistent play.

Despite a 6-1 record, the team's ability to carry out Knight's style of play remains, at times, elusive.

"I think it shows in stretches that it's made great improvement," Knight said of the Red Raiders' play. "And then I think it shows in stretches that it's made no improvement. So you take your choice."

Tech has squandered leads and given up easy points in the waning minutes of first halves-- a pet peeve of Knight's. In their last game, he went ballistic after a turnover in the closing seconds of the half led to a 3-pointer for TCU.

Knight, no stranger to handling chairs, flipped over his in disgust.

"Our team has got to have better judgment and it's got to be a lot smarter then it is right now," Knight said. "Maybe you miss shots, maybe you miss free throws, but you play smart."

In Texas Tech's 69-65 loss to Sam Houston State, the Red Raiders went 7-for-17 from the free-throw line in the second half.

"So we missed free throws. That happens," Knight said. "How about missed blockouts? How about missed opportunities to get the ball to people that are open? How about not setting up cuts? How about a center that doesn't screen? That's how we get beat."

Guard Nick Valdez said the Sam Houston loss -- in which Tech led at halftime by 16 -- showed the team's Achilles heel.

"We really messed up that game," Valdez said. "We just have to keep a lead when we have it. That's our problem right now, focus."

Team members know they have faltered at times in executing Knight's motion offense. But they also know they are a work in progress.

"I'm happy with the team right now, because a lot of people didn't think we'd be where we are now," forward Kasib Powell said.

The Red Raiders' next game is Dec. 14 at Houston. The break "will be a chance for us to get better," Powell said.

Against the Cougars, Tech likely will work a new ingredient into the mix. Forward Pawell Storozynski, a native of Poland who was deemed ineligible by the NCAA for playing professionally in Europe, will give Tech more depth. NCAA officials slapped Storozynski with a seven-game suspension.

The 6-foot-8, 22-year-old transfer from Dodge City Community College in Kansas has practiced with the team everyday.

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