Powered by a Ronald Ross world-class performance in a quarterfinal bout with the Sooners, Tech faced Oklahoma State University's Cowboys, the defending league champions, Sunday afternoon. Although they led by as many as six in the second half, Tech ended up two buckets short as time ran out, 68-72, after Ross turned in a second consecutive heroic game, with 22 points and 10 rebounds. But Ross' desperation shot from three-point country went awry and OSU's John Lucas, catching the loose ball under the bucket, drew a foul. On the other end of the floor Lucas sank the second of two free throws to nail Tech's coffin shut.
Jarrius Jackson, who provided Tech with another 22 points, said, "They turned our mistakes into transition offense. We were impatient."
Tech gave away 19 turnovers in the match – 14 of those in the first half. They had taken far better care of the ball in their quarterfinal, giving up just eight in the game.
"We made a good run at them," Ross said. "But we didn't execute in the end."
That is a fault the Red Raiders must remedy in a hurry – they've got a game Thursday night in Tucson, and their opponent is No. 11-seeded UCLA. The Bruins' season record is 18-10. Tip-off is slated for 8:55 p.m. local time, and the game will be available on KLBK-TV Channel 13.
Head coach Bob Knight's squad is making their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and the third since coach Knight took the reins of the program.
The Bruins' No. 11 seed -- they were one of the last at-large squads named to the field of 64, and return to the NCAA postseason tournament after a two-year absence -- reflects a loss in the opening round of the Pac-10 tourney.
"I would say that just the proximity to L.A., that's probably the most desirable site that we could have," said UCLA head coach Ben Howland.
The winner of the match advances against the winner of third-seeded Gonzaga's game against No. 14 Winthrop. From that match the winner will travel to Albuquerque.