LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)—Pat Knight walked into the locker room after his first win as a head coach and the man who made it all possible was already there.
Texas Tech beat No. 18 Kansas State 84-75 on Wednesday night in Pat Knight’s third game after succeeding Bob Knight, his father and mentor and the winningest coach in Division I history.
“He was waiting for me in the locker room,” Pat Knight said of his father, who he said looked a little worn out. “It feels good, believe me, to get the first one but that’s only one. I’m still only 1-2. Now if I was 3-0, I’d think about retiring.”
Joking aside, Pat Knight said all his players showed up and “were unbelievable.”
Alan Voskuil scored a career-high 30 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range to lead the Red Raiders (13-10, 4-5 Big 12), who until nine days ago were coached by Bob Knight.
On Wednesday night, instead of patrolling the sideline as he had as a head coach for the past 42 seasons, Bob Knight sat and applauded—and occasionally showed frustration at mistakes—from a seat in a box. When it was over he continued clapping as his son-successor got hugs from his assistants and players. Pat Knight shared high-fives with fans as he strolled out of the arena to loud cheers.
Bill Walker had 27 points and Michael Beasley added 22 for Kansas State (17-6, 7-2), which came into the game in first place in the Big 12.
The Red Raiders scored on seven of their first eight possessions in the second half. A 15-6 run gave Texas Tech a 60-38 lead with about 14 minutes remaining.
But the Wildcats went to a full-court press and it gave Tech fits. Kansas State used a 20-4 run, including 12 points by Walker, and got within 64-58 with just under 9 minutes remaining.
And they stopped Voskuil’s outside shooting. He was held scoreless for 7 minutes and Tech had just three field goals during his drought but they did go 8-for-13 from the free throw line during the span.
A 3-pointer by Jacob Pullen pulled the Wildcats within 70-66 with 5:34 left, but that was as close as they came the rest of the way.
Giving Voskuil looks early hurt Kansas State, Wildcats coach Frank Martin said.
“Like all good shooters, when you give him open looks they find the rim,” he said. “And once you let a good shooter find the rim, it’s over. I don’t care how hard you guard him after that, every time he lets it go it’s going in.”
Voskuil was elated for Pat Knight.
“Man, it feels great,” he said. “I love Pat. He’s the one who recruited me and so it just feels good to do something for him for once.”
Nine days after Bob Knight, who had 902 wins and three national championships, suddenly resigned and turned the team over to his son, Pat Knight improved his career record to 1-2.
Pat Knight, in an apparent gesture to connect with Tech’s student body, strode the length of the floor before the game and heaved a few rolled up T-shirts into their section.
He got the idea from North Carolina coach Roy Williams.
“I’m really going to go after the students to show support because if you have a good student body here it’s going to be loud enough to give us an advantage,” Pat Knight said.
Beasley was slapped with a contact technical foul late in the first half for shoving Michael Prince to the floor after the Kansas State standout was called for traveling near the lane.
Martin Zeno scored 16 points for Texas Tech and Mike Singletary and John Roberson both added 11. Voskuil tied a career high with seven rebounds.
Pat Knight started his day with news that Zeno had the flu. The senior received fluids intravenously right until game time.
“I told him I’d give him a little bit of a break but I just couldn’t do it,” said Knight, who played him 37 minutes.
Tech led up by double digits twice in the first half. The Red Raiders used a 9-0 run with Voskuil hitting a 3 and a field goal and Trevor Cook adding a basket and two free throws to go up 35-23 with under 4 minutes remaining in the half.
Tech led 40-28 at halftime.
On Tuesday, Lubbock’s mayor proclaimed Wednesday Pat Knight Day in the city, an honor Pat Knight said he didn’t deserve, especially after losing his first two games, both on the road.
“I don’t deserve a day,” Pat Knight said. “I’m surprised, starting 0-2, I didn’t get a dead end, dirt road named after me.”