Knight ties Rupp for second coaching wins list

Thursday, December 7th 2006, 6:30 am
By: News On 6

Bob Knight shook hands with the opposing coach, put his head down and walked off the court.

Victory No. 876, the one that tied him with legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp for second place on the career list and moved him within three of tying former North Carolina coach Dean Smith for the top spot, didn't even get a mention from the public address announcer.

Texas Tech's 66-59 victory at Louisiana Tech on Wednesday night wasn't followed by a ceremony. The thing that made it like so many of the other wins in Knight's 41-year career was his usual gruff demeanor when he asked to comment on catching the late Rupp.

Knight reflected back on his playing days as a reserve on Ohio State teams that reached three straight Final Fours in the 1960s.

``The thing I remember about Adolph Rupp is that one time I scored seven points against the ornery son of a bitch to help beat him,'' Knight said, referring to Ohio State's 87-74 victory over the Wildcats in the 1961 NCAA tournament. ``That's a lot bigger in my memory than this.''

Jarrius Jackson scored 21 points for Texas Tech (7-3) and Martin Zeno added 18.

In games involving ranked teams Wednesday night, it was: No. 2 Pittsburgh 73, Duquesne 56; No. 7 Florida 85, Providence 67; No. 7 Duke 57, Holy Cross 45; No. 15 Butler 65, Ball State 41; Tennessee 76, No. 16 Memphis 58; No. 19 Connecticut 81, Northeastern 53; and No. 23 Maryland 79, Fordham 59.

The 66-year-old Knight began his coaching career at Army in 1965. Six years later he moved to Indiana, where he won three national championships and coached for 29 seasons before being fired in 2000 for what school officials called a violation of a zero-tolerance behavior policy.

After a yearlong break, he took over at Texas Tech, which he has led to four straight 20-win seasons.

Knight has always generated controversy along with his victories, from his infamous chair-throwing tirade in 1985 to the long series of incidents that led to his acrimonious departure from Indiana.

He received criticism earlier this season when he aggressively lifted forward Michael Prince's chin to get his attention during a game.

The Red Raiders' next game is Saturday at home against Centenary.

Freshman Kyle Gibson had 14 points for Louisiana Tech (1-6).

No. 2 Pittsburgh 73, Duquesne 56

Aaron Gray had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Panthers (9-0), who opened with nine straight wins for the fifth consecutive season.

Robert Mitchell had 13 points for visiting Duquesne (2-5), which lost its fifth straight. The Dukes are down to nine scholarship players following the on-campus shooting of five players in September.

Pitt has won eight of the last nine and 25 of the last 28 in a matchup known locally as the City Game.

No. 7 Florida 85, Providence 67

Al Horford scored a career-high 21 points and Joakim Noah for the Gators (8-2), who were coming off a loss at Florida State on Sunday. Horford was 8-of-13 from the field and had 13 rebounds and three assists. Noah was 6-of-7 from the field with six rebounds, five steals and four assists.

Weyinmi Efejuku led the visiting Friars (6-2) with 22 points.

No. 7 Duke 57, Holy Cross 45

DeMarcus Nelson and Josh McRoberts each scored 13 points for the Blue Devils (8-1), who struggled offensively before taking control with a 20-4 run in the second half to win their 47th straight nonconference home win, the longest streak in the nation.

Keith Simmons scored 13 points to lead the Crusaders (6-3), who led 28-22 at halftime after shooting 46 percent from the field. Holy Cross shot just 7-for-24 in the second half, while Duke hit 11 of 18 shots.

No. 15 Butler 65, Ball St. 41

Mike Green scored a career-high 21 points for the Bulldogs (10-0), who held an opponent under 60 points for the seventh time this season and won their 14th straight at home.

Anthony Newell had 11 points for Ball State (3-5), which lost for the fifth time in six games and scored its fewest points since a 58-41 loss to Dayton in 1957.

Tennessee 76, No. 16 Memphis 58

Chris Lofton scored a career-high 34 points for the Volunteers (7-2), who led by as many as 23 points in the first half. Lofton was 12-of-18 from the field, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range.

Chris Douglas-Roberts had 19 points for the visiting Tigers (6-2), who were 22-of-77 from the field.

No. 19 Connecticut 81, Northeastern 53

Jeff Adrien had a career-high 18 points and 12 rebounds as Connecticut (8-0) won its 27th straight at home.

Bennet Davis had 14 points and nine rebounds for Northeastern (2-6), which dropped to 0-7 against ranked teams since 1996.

No. 23 Maryland 79, Fordham 59

Mike Jones scored 18 points and D.J. Strawberry and Greivis Vasquez each had 16 for the Terrapins (9-1), who were coming off their first loss of the season. Ekene Ibekwe matched a career-high with six blocked shots for Maryland, which lost to Notre Dame on Sunday.

Marcus Stout scored 20 points and Bryant Dunston had 17 for the visiting Rams (4-3), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.