NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Texas Tech played like a Bob Knight team and moved him within one victory of Dean Smith's all-time coaching record.
The Red Raiders moved the ball patiently, shot well from the perimeter and shut down Arkansas' stagnant offense during an 18-0 first-half run and went on to a 71-56 victory Saturday.
Knight has 878 victories and he can tie Smith's Division I mark when Texas Tech hosts Bucknell next Saturday -- although he downplayed the accomplishment after the game.
"Doesn't mean anything to me," Knight said of catching the former North Carolina coach. "It means I've coached a long time. You guys think too much about records." The Red Raiders (9-3) play their next four games at home, giving Knight a good chance to break the record in Lubbock.
Arkansas' Sonny Weems opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, but Texas Tech scored the next 18 points. Jarrius Jackson scored 16 of his 17 in the first half as Texas Tech took a 35-22 lead. The Razorbacks (8-2) cut their deficit to eight several times in the second half, but the Red Raiders held on.
"It's as pleased as I've been with our team in the last two years. To be able to start in a game and exercise a control of the game in the first half," Knight said. "We kind of held them off ... which was very good for us because we've not been particularly good at that."
Texas Tech went 15-17 last season, and the Red Raiders face Bucknell, UNLV and New Mexico before opening Big 12 play against Oklahoma on Jan. 6. Knight said the next three nonconference games are crucial. When asked whether his team is ready for league play, he gave out a phone number for his sports information director and said to call after a couple weeks.
"I'll tell you on the Second of January if we're ready to go into Big 12 play," he said.
Jackson hobbled off with an apparent foot injury with 17:33 remaining in the second half. He returned quickly, then departed again with 14:57 to play and headed toward the tunnel moments later. He came back late in the game.
"I still wanted to go in and help my team win in the second half," Jackson said. "They had great heart and executed the game plan. I wasn't worried."
Martin Zeno picked up the slack while Jackson was gone, beating the Razorbacks' press for a dunk to make it 47-37 and scoring nine straight for Texas Tech at one point. He finished with 17 points, and Charlie Burgess added 19 for the balanced Red Raiders.
AP - Dec 16, 4:30 pm EST
Arkansas struggled with its halfcourt offense, turning the ball over 11 times in the first half. Charles Thomas scored 19 of his 21 points in the second, when the Razorbacks started getting the ball inside, but it wasn't enough.
"We were not able to get the ball inside like we wanted because it seemed that they were being more physical inside and pushing our big guys off the sweet spot in the post," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said.
Knight had a slightly different explanation.
"I told them that I'd rather they not shoot it from inside," he joked. "I don't know whether they were afraid of me or what."
Knight did credit his team's defense, which held Arkansas to 41 percent shooting and a woeful 3-of-21 from 3-point range. The Razorbacks finished with 18 turnovers.
Texas Tech has won five of six, and only one of those games was at home.
"We gave our guys too tough of a schedule," Knight said.
Darian Towns had 10 points and eight rebounds for Arkansas. Heath still needs one win to reach 100 for his career. Knight's next victory will be a much bigger milestone.