LUBBOCK, TX – Down 63-61 with less than 10 seconds to go, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart trailed Texas Tech senior forward Jaye Crockett, who was driving down the lane going for the a dunk. In an attempt to block Crockett’s dunk, he fouled the Red Raider. Smart’s momentum took him into the stands behind the basket.
As Smart was helped up by a nearby photographer, a Texas Tech “super-fan” – Jeff Orr – said something to set off the Oklahoma State superstar. According to Texas Tech athletic department spokesman Blayne Beal, Orr is from Waco, Texas and “travels thousands of miles each year to attend Texas Tech basketball games.” After the Cowboy gets up, he walks over to Orr. The two exchange words and Smart shoves him. The sophomore received a technical foul, and sat on the bench for the remainder of the game.
Oklahoma State, who is in the midst of a five-game losing-streak, are self-imploding. Smart’s latest on-court meltdown doesn’t help.
According to ESPN, Smart told his coaches that “Orr called him a racial slur.” No matter what a fan says, it is not right for the point guard to react that way. As the leader of a spiraling Oklahoma State squad, Smart must keep his composure and lead by example. Did Smart have a right to push Orr? Yeah, maybe. But that doesn’t mean he should have.
In that moment, Smart came undone and cost the team. With No. 19 Oklahoma State’s chances at making the NCAA Tournament dwindling and a tough road match-up at No. 15 Texas Tuesday, the Cowboys will be without their superstar. Without Smart for the next three games, Oklahoma’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament might be finished. The Smart suspension is only the latest speed bump for this Oklahoma State squad. The Cowboys will need to rise from this as a unit, and use this mishap as a bounce-back point for the rest of the season.
If you’re the Big 12 commissioner, what would you do? Is three games too harsh, too little or just right?
Fake Sandy Alderson, Suburban Matt and Big Al Sternberg, tomorrow.