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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611) -- Stillwater, Oklahoma. Television: Big 12 Network, MASN2. Home Record: TTU 10-5, OSU 10-3. Away Record: TTU 2-7, OSU 2-6. Neutral Record: TTU 1-1, OSU 4-1. Conference Record: TTU 5-8, OSU 4-9. Series Record: Oklahoma State leads, 38-16.
GAME NOTES: With Marcus Smart returning to the floor after serving a three- game suspension, the Oklahoma State Cowboys will attempt to halt their slide on Saturday afternoon when they tangle with the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Big 12 Conference action at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Texas Tech has endured an up-and-down campaign overall at 13-13 and has been underwhelming in the Big 12 with a 5-8 league mark. The Red Raiders have dropped back-to-back games, most recently falling in a home heartbreaker to nationally-ranked Kansas on Tuesday night, 64-63.
Even before Smart was suspended following the last game between these two teams, Oklahoma State was trending in the wrong direction, but things have gotten even worse since then as it has dropped seven straight contests, most recently losing at Baylor on Monday in overtime, 70-64. The Cowboys were one of the nation's best teams earlier in the season, but at 16-10 and 4-9 in conference action, they now appear to be on the outside looking in regarding NCAA Tournament consideration.
Texas Tech downed Oklahoma State in Lubbock on Feb. 8, 65-61. The Cowboys have still won six of the past seven in the series and have a 38-16 all-time advantage.
In a game that consisted of nine ties and 13 lead changes, the Red Raiders grabbed hold of a one-point lead with 16 seconds left after Robert Turner drained a couple of clutch free throws, but they fell victim to a game-winning bucket by the Jayhawks with just two seconds left to fall on the wrong end of the thriller. They shot a stellar 47.1 percent from the field but were ultimately done it by getting outscored at the foul line, 22-9. Jordan Tolbert led the way with 16 points and six rebounds, Dejan Kravic netted 13 points, Turner finished with 11 points and Jaye Crockett and Dusty Hannahs scored 10 apiece.
Texas Tech has impressed offensively this season, shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 74.4 percent at the charity stripe for 71.0 ppg, which has usually been enough to support its solid scoring defense (68.2 ppg). The squad's strength comes in the frontcourt, where Crockett (14.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Tolbert (11.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg) are the top threats, as both shoot greater than 52 percent from the field. Turner leads the charge in the backcourt with 9.8 ppg but on just 40.4 percent shooting.
The Cowboys found a little magic in the waning seconds of regulation earlier in the week, as Leyton Hammonds stole a Baylor in-bounds pass and proceeded to drain the game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, but they quickly fell behind in the extra session and never recovered as their losing streak continued. While they held Baylor to only 37.7 percent from the field, they could not take advantage with their attempts (.373) and they were dominated on the boards, 51-36. Markel Brown was outstanding in spite of defeat, shooting 10-of-19 from the floor on his way to 26 points to go with six assists. Phil Forte was also impressive with 20 points.
Although Oklahoma State's season has gone south in a hurry, it still boasts very good numbers, as it outshoots its opponents from the floor, 46.8 percent to 40.1 percent, for a +11.4 scoring margin. The team has very clearly missed Smart over the past three games. The sophomore is averaging a team-best 17.5 ppg this season and contributes across the board with 5.7 rpg, 4.3 apg and 2.3 spg. Brown (17.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is an excellent second option, shooting 47.8 percent from the field. Le'Bryan Nash scores 14.5 ppg and rips down a team- high 6.0 rpg and Forte (12.6 ppg) is a 3-point specialist, having knocked down 73 long-range buckets at a 45.3 percent clip.
It's been an ugly run for Oklahoma State of late, but a return to its home floor and welcoming back its star player from suspension should be enough to lift the Cowboys to their first win since late January.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma State 77, Texas Tech 72
02/22 10:45:22 ET
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