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Knight ties Smith; Gators win showdown with OSU

    LUBBOCK, Texas — Add this to the list of things you can say about Bob Knight: Nobody has ever won more Division I men’s basketball games.
    Knight matched Dean Smith’s record of 879 victories when Texas Tech beat Bucknell 72-60 on Saturday.
    Knight’s first chance to own the top spot all by his sweater-wearing self comes Thursday night at home against UNLV.
    Already a Hall of Famer, Knight now has a share of the record some believe drove him back to coaching after being fired by Indiana after 29 years, three national titles and one too many run-ins with players, bosses and fans. Since resurfacing in 2001 at this West Texas school in the heart of football country, ‘‘The General’’ hasn’t changed much.
    He’s still fiery, as evidenced by him jerking up a player’s chin earlier this season. He still runs a motion offense and tight man-to-man defense. And he’s still winning: a 115-64 record with three trips to the NCAA tournament in five full seasons at a school that went twice the previous 15 years.
    About all that’s changed is the color of his sweater (black, instead of Hoosiers red) and the importance of the milestones, none bigger than this one, no matter how much Knight has tried to downplay it.
    In his 41st year of coaching, Knight has a career record of 879-353. Smith went 879-254 over 36 years, all at North Carolina. Knight and Smith also are the only men to have won national championships as players and coaches. They also share the record for coaching in the most NCAA tournaments (27).
    Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt is the overall leader in major-college victories with 913 going into Saturday.
    Playing before the biggest home crowd of the season, and without third-leading scorer Charlie Burgess (groin), Tech led for all but a couple possessions in the opening minutes.
    Bucknell (5-6) got within 42-39 early in the second half, but missed 13 straight shots starting with a 3-pointer that could have tied it. The Red Raiders capitalized with a 17-0 run and it wasn’t close again.

No. 5 Florida 86,
No. 3 Ohio St. 60

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Al Horford’s ankle is just fine, and so are the defending national champions.
    Horford had 11 points and 11 rebounds in his return from a sprained ankle, keyed Florida’s second-half run and helped the fifth-ranked Gators dismantle No. 3 Ohio State 86-60 on Saturday.
    Horford, cleared to play after a morning shootaround, dominated his matchup with talented 7-foot freshman Greg Oden.
    Oden was in foul trouble much of the game and finished with seven points and six rebounds.
    Gators coach Billy Donovan had said Horford would not play against the Buckeyes, but the 6-10 junior practiced Friday without any setbacks and was inserted into the game early.
    He was much more effective late, though.
    Ohio State (10-2) used a 9-0 run to start the second half and erase a 38-29 deficit. But then Horford took over.
    He had two jumpers, two dunks, a layup, a free throw and several rebounds over the next few minutes to help the Gators (11-2) put the game away.
    Taurean Green and Corey Brewer also came up big in the 33-9 run that turned a tie game into a rout and had the largest crowd in the O’Connell Center’s history (12,621) in a frenzy.
    Green had 10 points, including two 3-pointers, in the spurt. He finished with 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
    Brewer, who had a 102-degree temperature in Florida’s first loss against Kansas and sat out the second loss at Florida State, slashed through the Ohio State defense for most of his 18 points.
    Florida’s defense came up big, too.
    The Buckeyes shot 37.5 percent — well below their season average — and were outrebounded 42-25.
    Mike Conley Jr. led Ohio State with 13 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. But he didn’t get much from the rest of the ‘‘Thad Five,’’ coach Thad Matta’s highly touted recruiting class.
    Oden, David Lighty, Daequan Cook and Othello Hunter were a combined 5-of-20 from the field.
    Oden was 2-of-6, hampered by Horford, Noah and Chris Richard.
    Florida’s trio of big men went right after the player many consider to be the best center in college basketball. When Oden wasn’t on the bench in foul trouble, he was causing problems for the Gators, though.
    He had four blocks and a steal.
    Oden missed his first shot attempt and picked up a foul trying to get the rebound. He struggled much of the rest of the way.
    Florida used a 15-0 spurt in the first half to open up a 33-20 lead.
    Oden got two easy dunks to trim the lead to 36-29, but Green drove right at him on the other end with 5.1 seconds remaining and drew a foul — Oden’s second.
    Green made both free throws to extend the lead, and the Gators finally looked like the team that swept through the NCAA tournament last season for their first national championship.
    Florida had struggled to match opponents’ intensity and enthusiasm — maybe a natural byproduct of trying to repeat.
    But Donovan’s squad had little trouble getting up for this one.
    Tickets were sold out long ago. At least 20 NBA scouts were on hand to see what was touted as a marquee matchup featuring three of the best big men in the country in Oden, Horford and Noah.

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