Saturday night at United Spirit Arena could eventually end up being one of the most historic nights in Texas Tech basketball’s history.
The Red Raiders upset No. 19 Oklahoma State 65-61 in front of a raucous, capacity crowd of 15,098 fans, and ultimately, time may allow the game to be remembered mostly as Tech’s second big upset of the 2013-14 season.
For the immediate future, however, it will be remembered for the ugly incident that occurred with just seconds remaining that could end up greatly affecting the rest of the season for the Cowboys.
The Red Raiders, up by two, stole the ball and pushed it up the floor with eight seconds to play.
Junior point guard Robert Turner fed senior forward Jaye Crockett who was fouled on the layup on the left side of the floor.
Bigger than that missed dunk was the action under the basket.
Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, who committed the foul and landed in the stands behind the basket, was on the ground, then suddenly rose to his feet, confronted a fan that was behind him and, after the fan said something, Smart pushed him before being restrained by teammates.
The fan has been identified in a story on the main Texas Tech University website as Jeff Orr, who lives in Waco and travels to most Tech home games and several road contests.
Smart was called for a technical foul and sophomore guard Dusty Hannahs sank one of two free throws to add insurance to Tech’s lead.
Even after the game, Smart continued to scream and complain to officials and coaches and had to be forcibly restrained and removed from the court.
Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford said he didn’t see what happened with Smart on the baseline.
“I’m still trying to figure it out,” he said.
When asked what Smart told him about the incident, Ford responded, “We’ll discuss it when I find out more about it.”
Tech head coach Tubby Smith also said he didn’t see the incident and neither did Crockett.
After Hannahs made one of two technical free throws, Crockett stepped to the line and made one of two shots to give Tech a four-point lead and seal the win.
Crockett led the way for Tech with 21 points and a season high 12 rebounds.
“Jaye has had a big week,” Smith said. “He had Jaye Crockett Day on Monday. I was glad to see him cap the week off with good play. Jaye’s our best all around player, inside and outside.”
For Oklahoma State, Smart paced the offense with 22 points.
The Red Raiders took advantage of their height, outscoring Oklahoma State 32-22 in the paint.
Smith said he thought his team’s inside presence made a difference.
Senior center Kader Tapsoba and junior forward Jordan Tolbert stepped up for Tech.
Tolbert, after scoring only four points in Texas Tech’s last two games, recorded nine points.
Tapsoba hasn’t played since Tech’s Jan. 22 road game at West Virginia.
He was big on both sides of the court for the Red Raiders, finishing with seven points and three steals.
“I’m really happy for Kader,” Smith said. “He works extremely hard. ... He’s probably our most energetic player. I thought his defensive effort and his scoring, I wasn’t expecting that from him, he really stepped up.”
Tapsoba, however, wasn’t as impressed with his performance.
“To tell you the truth, not much,” he said. “I just did what I could. That’s how it worked out, and I’m happy it did.”
Texas Tech started off strong, jumping out to a 10-4 lead while Oklahoma State struggled from the field, sinking only one field goal in the first 9:14 of play.
However, the Cowboys warmed up, utilizing a 10-0 run to take a four-point lead over the Red Raiders.
During that 6:36 scoring drought, Tech had poor shot selection.
The Red Raiders weren’t able to get the ball down low because they weren’t moving the ball around the perimeter, meaning the Cowboy defense wasn’t shifting.
Texas Tech finished with only one assist in the first half.
With 6:32 left in the first half, Crockett put back an offensive board, sparking a 9-2 run that gave Tech a 19-18 lead.
Tied with Oklahoma State at 27 with 17.7 seconds remaining in the first half and no true point guard on the floor for the Red Raiders, senior guard Jamal Williams took charge and sunk a jumper to put Tech up by two going into the half.
Oklahoma State’s 27 points at halftime was its lowest this season.
The Cowboys held their biggest lead of the game, eight points, with 13:47 left in the game before the Red Raiders went to work and eventually tied it up three-and-a-half minutes later with a free throw by Tapsoba.
Three-pointers were huge for Texas Tech in the waning minutes of the game.
After starting out 0 for 7, the Red Raiders went 5 for 6 from behind the arc.
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