"Last year at this time I was already back in Lubbock," said All-Big 12 guard Andre Emmett, who scored 23 points and helped hold Oklahoma State to a season-low point total.
The Raiders (23-7) beat Texas A&M in the first round on Thursday and will play No. 1 Kansas in the semifinals on Saturday.
"I've enjoyed working with this team as much as any I've had," said Knight, who won three national championships at Indiana but was fired in September 2000 for violating a zero-tolerance policy.
Tech certainly impressed Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton.
"They're now one of the 25 best teams in the country," Sutton said. "Tech definitely has a chance to move up" in the NCAA tournament seedings.
Knight now has a 3-2 career edge over Sutton in a series between coaches who have nearly 1,500 wins combined.
The listless Cowboys (23-8) were consistently stymied by Tech's swarming defense and shot only 34 percent. Unable to get more than a few good looks at the basket, the Cowboys went 7-of-28 in the first half. On four straight possessions in the second half, the Cowboys had three turnovers and one air ball.
Cheyne Gadson finished just 1-of-12 from the field.
"It wasn't there from the tipoff," Oklahoma State's Fredrik Jonzen said. "We got back in the game, and then they scored nine straight. It's unbelievable how we can play like this."
Tech, by contrast, got plenty of easy baskets in Knight's motion offense, making 54 percent from the field. Kasib Powell, hitting both inside and outside, had 18 points, and Andy Ellis added 13.
Tech's lead was in double digits by halftime, and the Red Raiders quickly made it 20 points in the second half. Emmett canned a 3-pointer, then rebounded Will Chavis' miss and dunked to cap an 11-4 spurt.
Terrence Crawford had 12 points for Oklahoma State, while Jonzen had 10.
"The players have been great," Knight said. "A lot of changes are needed when a new coach is introduced and a lot of change was made here. I feel like we've played well in parts of every game. The players have really worked together and I think they've done a magnificent job."