In a strange opening half, Texas Tech made Oklahoma State look the way the Red Raiders normally look on the road. In that half the Cowboys shot 32 percent from the floor, 13 percent from beyond the arc, and trailed in rebounds by seven while turning over the ball twice as often as Tech. And, oh yeah—OSU finished the opening stanza with 17 points. The Red Raiders felt their pain!
But for much of the half, Tech was just as ugly as the Cowboys. The Red Raiders trailed by as many as three points in the early going, and didn’t reach double digits in scoring until there was only 5:56 remaining when Toddrick Gotcher dropped in a pair of free throws to tie the score at 10. At that point, Tech was 3-for-19 from the floor (16 percent) and had also missed a slew of free throws. It looked, for all the world, like the Red Raiders were destined to score fewer than 40 points for the third time this season.
Zach SmithBut then, completely out of the blue, Tech went stark raving nuts.
It all started with a Robert Turner 3-ball at the 4:37 mark. Then Zach Smith hit two free throws and a jumper. Devaugntah Williams followed with a trifecta. Odiase converted a layup, Gotcher swished consecutive treys, and Odiase punctuated the half with his first career 3-pointer right before the buzzer on a beautifully executed full-court play.
And just like that—Wham! Bam! Follow jam!—the Red Raiders went from tied to leading by 14. In 4:34 Tech scored more than three times as many points as they did in the previous 15:26.
But inevitably, the Cowboys came storming back. You knew they would. In a very real sense, they were playing for an NCAA tourney invite.
After a Luke Adams free throw gave the Red Raiders a 15-point lead with 19:32 to play, OSU went on an extended 31-15 run to pull ahead 48-47 on a Jeffrey Carroll 3-ball with 8:05 remaining.
The Cowboys did it with Le’Bryan Nash—a probable All Big 12 selection—and the deep ball. Nash put up 11 during the run, while 18 of OSU’s points came complements of 3-pointers. Just as Tech caught fire late in the first half, so did Oklahoma State early in the second, and it all set up a barn-burner.
Once the Cowboys took the lead, it became a tense, seesaw affair. Over the final 8:05, there were eight lead-changes. And both of the final two looked to be terminal. But only the latter was.
After Tech took a seemingly comfortable 60-56 lead on two Williams free throws with 1:06 showing on the clock, the Cowboys put on a final surge that seemingly had won them the game.
Nash, who got the star treatment from the stripes down the stretch, hit one free throw after Clark Lammert was called for a foul. It was 60-57 with 50 seconds to play.
Nash missed his second foul shot, however, and Amarillo’s Michael Cobbins scored the offensive carom and was fouled by Zach Smith. He hit both free throws and suddenly Oklahoma State was within a point and there was still plenty of game to be played.
After a Williams turnover precipitated by falling while driving to the hoop, OSU’s Jeffrey Carroll put in a 3-point saber with 18 seconds remaining to give the Cowboys a 62-60 advantage. In 48 seconds Oklahoma State turned a four-point deficit into a two-point lead.
But more drama remained.
On Tech’s final possession Williams popped free on a back screen, Gotcher fed him the rock, and the Canton Kid sank a 3-ball from the right wing with 10 seconds to play.
The Cowboys missed badly on two final shots and the Red Raiders had their third conference win of the season.
Tech will try to garner its first road win of the season 8 p.m. Friday when they take on Baylor (22-7, 10-6).