Sunday, February 8, 2004

Knight lauds KU’s offense


There was an outburst Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, but it had nothing to do with legendary -- and mercurial -- Texas Tech coach Bob Knight.

No. 20 Kansas University's offense exploded for a season-high 96 points in a 96-77 victory over No. 19 Texas Tech.

Knight's controversial run-in with Texas Tech Chancellor David Smith Monday at a Lubbock, Texas, grocery store earned Knight a public reprimand from Texas Tech and might have made a few fans in the fieldhouse think more fireworks were to come Saturday.

They didn't.

Not even after Jayhawk faithful held up signs that read "Red Rager" during team introductions or taunted Knight when he argued with officials on a couple of occasions.

A few razzes from the south student section when Knight walked to the locker room after the game were drowned out by Knight supporters, who clapped loudly for him in the walkway.

Knight mouthed, "Thank you," and told Jayhawk fans: "You've got a really good team, Kansas."

Even during his short session with the media, Knight joked with the throng of journalists swarming around him with microphones and recorders.

"That was a hell of a move you just made," said a smiling Knight when a reporter wormed his way to the front of the pack and nearly fell at Knight's feet.


Texas Tech coach Bob Knight, right, pleads his case for a one-and-one free-throw opportunity for the Red Raiders.

Knight had nothing but praise for the Jayhawks.

"Kansas offensively played as well as any team that I have really seen play this year," Knight said, "certainly as well as anybody we've played against.

"They shot really well to begin with, and we were trying to dig ourselves out of a hole. We had a little shot at it, and I was pleased at halftime, actually, being eight down the way that they came out."

The Jayhawks, who improved to 15-1 all-time against Tech, knocked down their first five three-point attempts and made 14 of 19 field goals over the first 12 minutes.

Kansas quickly closed out the game in the second half, when Texas Tech went nine minutes without a field goal.

"I think we scored like 14 points in the first five minutes of the second half, and we hadn't gained a thing," said Knight, whose team allowed Kansas 33 points more than its defensive average. "Their offense was tremendous today, both inside and outside. Their offense was better than anything we could come up with on both sides of the ball."

Tech senior guard Andre Emmett was the exception.

Emmett, the Big 12 Conference's leading scorer at 21.2 points per game, had his second-highest scoring output of the season with 29 points on 8-for-20 shooting and 13-of-15 shooting from the free-throw line.

The Red Raiders weren't available for interviews, but Emmett, much like his coach, praised Kansas' high-octane offense.

"Offensively, they played great," said Emmett, who needs just 89 points to become Texas Tech's career scoring leader.

Both Emmett and Knight said Knight's incident earlier in the week had not been a distraction.

A few fans braved Saturday's chilly temperatures outside the fieldhouse in hopes of an autograph -- or maybe even a final chance to watch the infamous coach implode.

But Knight, who sported a winter coat and Bear Bryant-style hat, boarded the team bus without a word.

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