OSU’s Jeffrey Carroll was set to be the hero in helping the Cowboys rally from a 31-17 halftime deficit and 15-point deficit early in the second half. The redshirt freshman entered Saturday having only played in six games and scoring two points in the Cowboys’ 15 Big 12 games this season.
Carroll came off the bench to make four of seven three-pointers in the second half, and his trey with 16.4 seconds gave the Cowboys a 62-60 lead. After back-to-back Tech timeouts following Carroll’s go-ahead basket, the Red Raiders’ Williams hit a trey over OSU’s Anthony Hickey with 8.3 seconds remaining for the game-winning points.
OSU had one last chance after the ball was knocked out of bounds under the Cowboys basket with 1.3 seconds remaining. But Carroll’s off-balance three-point attempt from the corner hit the side of the backboard as time expired inside United Supermarkets Arena.
“We were trying to send him there (to the corner) and then we were going to slip to the basket if they came after him. We had about three options on it. He probably could have got a little bit better shot, I think he rushed it a little bit, but we got the ball in-bounds and got a shot off,” Ford said on his postgame radio show.
It was the Cowboys fourth consecutive loss since they became the first team in school history to defeat three ranked teams in a row during the regular season (Texas, Kansas and Baylor).
Carroll was one of four Cowboys in double figures against the Red Raiders. Le’Bryan Nash led the way with 19 points and five assists, Carroll contributed 12 points, Michael Cobbins finished with the second double-double of his career (10 points and 11 rebounds), and Tyree Griffin added 10 points while making the first start of his college career.
“We didn’t do much in the first half, and the second half we played with a great sense of urgency,” Ford said. “We played defense and ran the offense with a little bit of aggressiveness. The first half we were just very passive.
“Jeffrey Carroll stepped in and played some minutes, and really made some shots for us. We had really been seeing that from him in practice this week. We needed it, (because) we had some guys out there we weren’t getting much offense out of, so we needed somebody to step in and make some shots, and he did that for us.”
Phil Forte, who entered the game as the Big 12’s third-leading scorer (16.2 points), was held scoreless for the first time in 41 games. He missed all four of his shots from the field and fouled out after playing only 24 minutes.
In the four-game losing skid, Forte is shooting 25 percent from the field (7 of 28), and only 19 percent (4 of 21) from behind the three-point line. He is averaging 7.5 points in the last four games.
The Cowboys return home to Gallagher-Iba Arena for Senior Night on Wednesday when they host TCU.
“We have to put this one behind us. It’s a tough loss but we’ve got to put it behind us and move on,” Ford said.