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Record eludes Knight in 74-66 loss

He stays tied with Smith for career wins as Texas Tech fails to catch up to Nevada Las Vegas.

December 29, 2006|Robyn Norwood | Times Staff Writer

LUBBOCK, TEXAS — Iowa Coach Steve Alford, one of Bob Knight's players from his days at Indiana, was at Texas Tech's game Thursday night, hoping to see his former coach break the record of 879 victories by a Division I men's basketball coach that Knight shares with Dean Smith.

John Havlicek, one of Knight's teammates at Ohio State, was there too.

Then they watched Texas Tech fall behind by as many as 19 points in a 74-66 loss to Nevada Las Vegas that will let the record stand for at least a few more days.

"I told them they might have to stay here three weeks," Knight said. "It would be a hell of a boon to the economy, if we keep playing like we did in the first half."

The Red Raiders let UNLV (12-2) make 11 three-pointers and made only one of 12 themselves before cutting the lead to six twice in the final two minutes in what Knight called a classic case of "too little, too late."

By then, some of the 15,098 fans in the sold-out United Spirit Arena -- many of them lured by tickets costing $8.80 in honor of the hoped-for 880th victory -- already had left.

Knight was subdued on the bench much of the game, as he typically is, except for the occasional highlight-film outburst. However, he drew a technical late in the game when he went onto the court to protest the officiating.

"I thought one guy stepped over the line throwing it in, and I thought another guy stepped over the line when he caught it," Knight said, before once again downplaying the significance of the record for career victories.

"This is not like setting a record in the Masters or you breaking Babe Ruth's record," he said.

"I'm not interested in that, and I haven't been interested in that from Day One.

"All I'm interested in is our team playing well, and we did not play well."

Texas Tech (10-4) plays New Mexico (10-3) in its next game Monday.

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robyn.norwood@latimes.com

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