Foul On Travis Ford

I waited a while to think about this before writing anything. I was covering the Big 12 Wrestling Championships on Saturday but watched Oklahoma State's overtime loss to Iowa State. After OSU's Phil Forte missed a potential game clinching free throw with five seconds left in regulation, the Cowboys did not foul while holding a three-point lead for the final several seconds.

Instead, for the second time this season, they allowed Naz Long to hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game and extend play. It happened in Stillwater when Long's buzzer bomb forced the third and final overtime at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The old saying is, "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice then shame on me."

I'm not always a fan of fouling a player with a three-point lead in the final seconds. I'm more a fan of knowing the situation, knowing who I am playing and what they are capable of, and then using the strategy that gives me the best chance to win.

If this were a team that did not have a history of hitting buzzer beaters, a team that struggled with perimeter shooting then maybe I would do what Travis Ford did and not foul. However, this is a team that did it once to you this season and has done it in the recent past as well.

The situation screamed for a foul, which is what Ford said he did but the message did not get through to his players. There's no excuse. I don't care how loud the arena is or how confident you are in Forte hitting both free throws, as a head coach you have to think ahead and grasp situations and the message needed to make it to your players.

That is no excuse and don't throw it on those player that played their butts off. This one was a blatant coaching error, and worse yet one that came up again in overtime and was hammered home successfully by the coaching staff on the other bench.

There is still time to make up for it. Beat Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament and the Cowboys will certainly play in the NCAA Tournament. But make sure if the game is tight in the end that the Cowboys coaching staff has full grasp of the situation, what they want to do, and communicate it clearly and in time to the players. That is a big part of the job.

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