In the waning moments of Oklahoma State’s 65-61 loss at Texas Tech, Marcus Smart went flying into the stands after making a block that could have potentially kept the game alive.
A fan in the crowd said or did something to Smart that caused him to lose control of his emotions, pushing the fan before yelling at anyone and everyone he could find.
This has been a tough season for the Cowboys. Originally thought to be a potential contender for the Big 12 title, the Cowboys have lost five of their last six games and all of a sudden are in a position where simply earning a big to the NCAA tournament may be in jeopardy.
Smart’s lost his temper before this season, but this was simply unacceptable. I have no doubt that the fan said or did something to Smart to prompt the reaction. It probably was vile, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the guy deserved to get punched in the face instead of simply being on the receiving end of a two-handed shove.
But you simply cannot shove a fan if you are a player. Glare at him. Yell back. Drop every curse word you can think of. But do not EVER physically contact a fan, especially when the video — which was played live on National Television — will clearly show you being the aggressor.
Even if, as has been reported, it is a white fan calling Smart, who is black, the N-word.
The question now isn’t whether or not Smart will be suspended, it’s how long he will be suspended for. My guess would be four games, but I would not be surprised if he doesn’t suit up again in regular season play.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.