Sunday, February 2, 2003

Texas A&M denies Knight 800th victory

General's next opportunity comes Wednesday at home vs. Nebraska

The Associated Press

Texas Tech coach Bob Knight and his players look on in the closing minutes.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Bob Knight was denied his 800th career victory, and Bernard King was happy to be responsible.

King scored 18 points, including two critical free throws with 13 seconds left, to help the Aggies hold off Texas Tech 64-59 Saturday and prevent Knight from becoming the fourth Division I men's coach to reach 800 career victories.

"We wanted everyone to come out expecting to see him get his 800th win and have them come out and see him not get it, instead see how we can play," King said.

Knight has 799 wins and trails Dean Smith of North Carolina (879), Adolph Rupp of Kentucky (876) and Jim Phelan of Mount St. Mary's, Md. (826).

"There's a lot of credit for a team that can get back in a game like we did," Knight said. "But there's even more credit to a team that can get out to a big lead, lose it and then comes back to make the plays that win the game."

Antoine Wright slammed home a dunk with 2:41 that gave the Aggies a 60-53 lead.

"At the time, it just put us over the top," Wright said. "We were still a little shaky. But after that we were pretty comfortable. That was a Bobby Knight dunk right there."

Knight's next chance at the milestone comes Wednesday at home against Nebraska.

There was no pregame fanfare about Knight's quest.

Instead, a moment of silence was observed for the astronauts who perished Saturday aboard space shuttle Columbia. Two had West Texas ties - Rick Husband, a 1980 graduate of Texas Tech, and Willie McCool, who graduated from Lubbock Coronado High in 1979 before attending the Naval Academy.

After hitting only four of their first 20 shots and falling behind 25-9, the Red Raiders (12-5, 2-4 Big 12) fought back in the second half and almost gave Knight his big victory. But King sealed it with the late free throws.

Knight, who has been a head coach for 37 years, got his first victory and his 100th at Army. Victories 200-700 and his three national championships came at Indiana from 1971-2000.

The Red Raiders defeated Colorado 66-56 on Wednesday night, moving Knight within one victory of the milestone.

The first sellout crowd in the five-year history of Reed Arena, 12,611, turned out to see Texas A&M keep Knight from his milestone.

The Aggies (11-6, 3-3) gave Knight a rude welcome to begin the game, using a 17-2 run to take a 25-9 lead with 7:41 to go in the first half. During the charge, A&M hit 69 percent of its shots.

"The biggest factor in the ballgame was simply the way we started," Knight said. "It's been that way the entire conference season and I don't know why."

Knight called time out after A&M's big start and when play resumed, a 3-pointer by Nick Valdez and two by Ronald Ross started a 17-8 Texas Tech drive that cut the Aggies' lead to 33-26 at the half.

Andre Emmett hit two jumpers, a layup and a 3-point basket for Tech's first nine points of the second half, tying the score at 35 with his 3-pointer.

Emmett then got a steal and passed to Nathan Doudney, whose basket gave the Red Raiders their first lead with 16:59 left.

Antoine Wright and King brought the Aggies back, however, and they took the lead for good on a 3-point basket by King with 12:57 left to play.

Emmett led the Red Raiders with 17 points, and Doudney added 14.

Texas Tech lost for the fourth time in seven games.

"The 800 thing is not something we talked about," Texas A&M coach Melvin Watkins said. "The focus was on 2-3. It's conference and we needed to come out of this game 3-3."

All-time victories

Texas Tech coach Bob Knight will get his next shot at 800 wins Wednesday at home against Nebraska. Three coaches are ahead of Knight in all-time Division I coaching victories:

Dean Smith879
Adolph Rupp876
Jim Phelan826
Bob Knight799

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