By Randy Riggs
AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Texas Tech's Bob Knight was his usual rambunctious self during a win over Texas A&M. Afterward, he thanked the crowd for its help.
LUBBOCK — As poorly as Texas A&M played Wednesday night, it's a wonder Texas Tech's Bob Knight wasn't credited with the 900th and 901st victories of his illustrious coaching career.
It will only count as one, but it was a big one as Knight's Red Raiders put on a clinic in dismantling the 10th-ranked Aggies 68-53before 11,268 fans at United Spirit Arena.
"It was an albatross," Knight said of the prospects of his 900th victory, "and we got rid of it. I'm glad it's over."
Knight, NCAA Division I's all-time winningest men's basketball coach, recorded another milestone in shockingly easy fashion. After the first 111/2 minutes, Knight's motion offense and man-to-man defense turned A&M as cold as the teeth-rattling weather outside. To mix metaphors, it was a complete meltdown for Mark Turgeon's Aggies.
"We were peeing down our legs out there," Turgeon said as the Aggies fell to 15-2 and 1-1 in Big 12 play. "I'm not sure we can play much worse. I kept looking for somebody to do well and nobody would do it."
The victory improved Tech's overall mark to 10-6 and evened its Big 12 record at 1-1 heading into Saturday's game at Oklahoma. The Aggies' road doesn't get any easier, either. They visit Kansas State on Saturday.
It looked like this might be Tech's night when A&M's 7-foot freshman center DeAndre Jordan managed to get whistled for two fouls in the game's first 31 seconds. But the outcome virtually was decided in the later stages of the opening half.
Tech limited the Aggies to just one field goal and three points over the final 81/2 minutes of the half.
When the game ended, the large contingent of Tech students obeyed the public-address announcer's plea to stay in their seats and not rush the court after the Raiders' third straight victory over A&M.
"When fans rush the court," senior Tech guard Charlie Burgess said, "it's because they were surprised their team won. This was not a surprise."
Martin Zeno led Tech with 19 points, while Trevor Cook added 14, hitting three of four 3-pointers. Pacing A&M were Joseph Jones and Josh Carter with 11 points each.
It wasn't necessarily that the Raiders played all that well in the opening 20 minutes. It was more that A&M was exceedingly bad.
In the second half of their last game, the Aggies hit 70.8 percent their shots against Colorado. They followed that with a first half Wednesday night that saw them:
Hit 23.1 percent of their field goals (6 of 26);
Commit 13 turnovers and 11 fouls;
Make only 4 of 8 free throws and 1 of 7 three-pointers.
For game, the Raiders limited A&M to 34 percent shooting (18 of 53) as the Aggies, committing a season-high 20 turnovers, lost their second true road test in as many tries. The other was at Arizona on Dec. 2.
"When you're playing all home games and playing the schedule we played, sometimes you can hide weaknesses," Turgeon said. "I think all of our weaknesses came out tonight."
Tech outscored A&M 20-4 over the final 111/2 minutes of the first half.
The second half began totally differently. A Carter 3-pointer triggered a 6-0 in the first 45 seconds, prompting Knight to take a quick timeout to stop the bleeding.
"We've not dealt well with adversity in games," he said. "So that was about as good as we've been in that context."
The strategy worked. A&M pulled within 41-34 on a 3-pointer by Dominique Kirk with 13:45 left, but the Raiders answered with a 15-1 run, including a pair of treys by Cook, to rebuild their lead to 56-35 with 7:45 remaining.
All-time men's coaching wins
1. Bob Knight 900
2. Dean Smith 879
3. Adolph Rupp 876
4. Jim Phelan 830
5. Eddie Sutton 798
6. Mike Krzyzewski 789