Oklahoma State’s 74-55 victory over Texas Tech denies Knight 900th win
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)—It took Bob Knight 42 seasons to get to the brink of 900 wins. Oklahoma State’s Obi Muonelo needed less than 2 minutes to call off the celebration.
Muonelo hit four straight 3-pointers in a 95-second stretch, and Oklahoma State throttled down in the second half to deny Knight his 900th career win with a 74-55 defeat of Texas Tech on Saturday.
“It was Bob Knight’s 900th win, and we shut that down,” Muonelo said. “We didn’t let him get that.”
Muonelo, who had a season-high 21 points, broke open a close game midway through the second half when he hit two 3s from the left side and then two more from the top of the key. Freshman James Anderson drained a 3 from the right side, and that drew a timeout from Knight, Division I basketball’s winningest coach.
Muonelo flapped his arms to encourage Oklahoma State’s largest home crowd of the season, while Knight slowly entered his team’s huddle on the opposite sideline.
“Before the game, that’s all we were talking about in the locker room. Bobby Knight’s a great coach, but we were just talking about how we didn’t want him to just come in here and get his 900th win and then have a celebration on our court,” Muonelo said. “We can’t let that happen in Gallagher-Iba.”
The Cowboys (10-5, 1-0 Big 12) scored the next six points and held Texas Tech (9-6, 0-1) scoreless for another 4 minutes after the timeout to extend a 21-2 run and build a 67-41 lead.
Freshman Ibrahima Thomas added a career-high 16 points and Anderson ended up with 13 after taking a hard fall on a fast break in the first 3 minutes of the game. Marcus Dove scored 10 points.
Martin Zeno scored 10 points and Esmir Rizvic had nine points and a career-high 12 rebounds for the Red Raiders.
“Their shooting was very good and their play was good,” Knight said. “They just took the game away from us pretty quick in the second half. I don’t think I need to add much more than that.”
Knight was seeking to become only the third Division I coach with 900 career wins, and the first in the men’s game. Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt has won 959 games, and former Texas women’s coach Jody Conradt won exactly 900 before retiring last season.
Knight’s next chance at No. 900 comes Wednesday night, when the Red Raiders host No. 11 Texas A&M.
“I don’t think, unless (Duke) Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski coaches a long time, you’ll ever see anybody win 900 games,” Cowboys coach Sean Sutton said. “I pull for those guys to win every night out, except for the few times they play us.”
Rizvic had 10 rebounds in the opening half, and his layup started an 18-5 run that gave Tech a 24-16 lead. Oklahoma State responded immediately by reeling off nine straight points to get back in the game, and was able to take a 35-32 halftime lead after Zeno committed three turnovers in the span of five possessions.
Knight considered the final minutes of the first half to be the turning point.
“Zeno made a lot of mistakes for a four-year player today, a lot of mistakes,” Knight said. “… He just doesn’t have a good feel for what he’s doing, or hasn’t had. He’s been a real disappointment.”
The Cowboys turned the tide by crashing the boards and avoiding the ticky-tack fouls that sent Texas Tech to the line 16 times in the opening half.
And then Muonelo got hot.
The sophomore who missed nearly all of Big 12 regular season play last season after leg surgery hit his first five 3-pointers and seven of his first eight shots. He hit eight 3-pointers in a loss to Nebraska last season.
“He’s a guy that can score and he’s capable of getting on a roll,” Sutton said. “I’m not sure he’ll do that many night, where he hits four in that amount of time, but he can score the basketball.”
He got a standing ovation from the crowd he was replaced in the final 3 minutes with Oklahoma State leading by 21.
One game after drawing his first technical foul in over a year, Knight sat calmly on the Red Raiders’ bench for most of the game.
He drew an early “Sit down! Shut up!” chant from the crowd as he spoke to an official after Tech’s John Roberson undercut Anderson, the Cowboys’ leading scorer, on a fast-break chance less than 3 minutes into the game.
He watched in disgust as Tech let the shot clock expire shortly after his timeout, and walked to halfcourt to shake the Sutton’s hand after the game.