Lubbock, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The 19th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys will attempt to stop the bleeding on Saturday night, as they take a trip to United Spirit Arena for a Big 12 Conference matchup with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Oklahoma State was once considered one of the nation's elite teams but has plummeted in the standings in recent weeks with three straight losses, most recently falling on the wrong end of a heartbreaking triple-overtime home matchup with Iowa State on Monday, 98-97. The Cowboys are just 4-5 in the league but still own a stellar 16-6 ledger overall.
Texas Tech had lost three straight games prior to its 60-54 road victory over TCU last Saturday, which allowed it to improve to 3-6 in the Big 12 and 11-11 overall. Most of the Red Raiders' success has come at United Spirit Arena, where they have won nine of 13 games.
The Cowboys hold a 38-15 lead in the all-time series with the Red Raiders, which includes victories in six straight meetings dating back to 2011.
After missed opportunities in at the end of regulation as well as the waning seconds of the first and second overtimes, Oklahoma State's mistakes finally caught up to it in the third extra session, as it missed a pair of jumpers in the final seven seconds to fall on the wrong end of the one-point marathon heartbreaker. It shot 48.6 percent from the field on the night and 25-of-33 from the free-throw line, but it was outscored from beyond the arc, 30-12. Le'Bryan Nash was outstanding in the loss with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Marcus Smart poured in 20 points, Markel Brown tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds and Brian Williams netted 15 points.
Despite the Cowboys' recent struggles, they are still one of the nation's most well-rounded teams, sporting a +14.9 scoring margin, outshooting their opponents from the field, 47.7 percent to 39.6 percent, and ranking tied for seventh in the nation in scoring with 83.8 ppg. Marcus Smart is one of the nation's premiere guards with 17.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.4 apg and 2.4 spg, although his field-goal percentage (.419) hasn't wowed anyone. Brown (17.0 ppg) is hot on Smart's heels for the scoring lead, Nash brings 14.6 ppg and 6.1 rpg to the table and Phil Forte (12.2 ppg) has been outstanding from beyond the arc (61- of-129) and the free-throw line (56-of-61).
The Red Raiders trailed TCU early in the second half of their latest tilt but took control of the game with a 10-1 run late to pull away for the solid road victory. Despite a dreadful 1-of-16 showing from 3-point range, the squad shot an impressive 47.1 percent from the field overall and won the turnover battle, 20-12. Dejan Kravic scored 18 points to lead the way, while Jaye Crockett and Dusty Hannahs poured in 15 and 11, respectively.
On the season, Texas Tech boasts a solid offensive attack, shooting 46.6 percent from the field for 72.0 ppg, which is enough to support a modest scoring defense (69.0 ppg). Its biggest advantage comes in the frontcourt, where it boasts a +3.8 rebounding margin and is led by Crockett (14.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Jordan Tolbert (11.1 ppg), with both players shooting greater than 55 percent from the field. Robert Turner scores 9.7 ppg but on less than 40 percent shooting, while Hannahs (9.2 ppg) has drained a team-best 35 3- pointers at a 40.2 percent clip.