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Zeno, Texas Tech defense helps Bob Knight win No. 900

Jan 17, 2008 - 7:19 AM LUBBOCK, Texas (Ticker) -- Texas Tech's stifling defense and efficient offense helped coach Bob Knight cruise to career win No. 900.

Martin Zeno had 19 points and five assists and Trevor Cook added a career-high 14 points as the Red Raiders smothered ninth-ranked Texas A&M, 68-53, in a Big 12 Conference upset on Wednesday.

The victory makes Knight just the third coach in collegiate basketball history - and first in the men's game - to reach the 900-win plateau, joining Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt (959) and former Texas women's coach Judy Conradt (900).

"Our players really played hard tonight against a really good team and a really good bunch of kids," Knight told the Dallas Morning News. "You people here tonight, with seats being full for a change, really made one hell of a difference in the way Texas Tech played."

The Red Raiders (10-6, 1-1 Big 12) had come up short in their first attempt to record the significant win for Knight, dropping a 74-55 decision at Oklahoma State in the conference opener for both teams on Saturday.

But the all-time winningest coach in the history of men's Division I basketball, Knight, 67, rarely had to sweat in this one as the Red Raiders took control midway through the first half.

After trailing by six points early, Texas Tech outscored Texas A&M, 29-8, over the final 13:32 of the first half to take a 32-17 lead at the break.

"I thought (they) played like they should play, as if they were college basketball players," Knight told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. "They haven't played well. Tonight, they looked like good college basketball players."

The Red Raiders held the Aggies to just 6-of-26 shooting (23 percent) in the first half and forced 13 turnovers over that stretch.

Texas A&M (15-2, 1-1) started fast after the intermission, using a 14-4 spurt to cut its deficit to 36-31 with 15:52 remaining but that would be as close as it could get. Texas Tech answered with a 15-3 run - keyed by six points from Cook - to take a commanding 51-34 advantage with 10:45 left.

"We came back and got that halftime lead, and that was huge," Knight said to the Star-Telegram. "We haven't been good at that. We haven't dealt well with adversity in games."

Zeno, who had 13 of his points in the second half, made a pair of free throws to give the Red Raiders a 60-37 lead with 6:28 to play and easily cruised to the finish.

It was the first road game since December 2 for Texas A&M, which has now lost three straight games to Texas Tech.

Joseph Jones and Josh Carter each scored 11 to lead the Aggies, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped.

"We were really bad, it's the only way I can put it," Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said to the Star-Telegram. "Tech was really good, and we were really bad. I'm not sure I can look at a player that played well."

Texas A&M outrebounded Texas Tech, 40-28, but made just 5-of-18 of its 3-point attempts and committed 20 turnovers for the game.