Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford spoke at Sunday evening’s press conference regarding Marcus Smart’s suspension following a shoving incident involving Texas Tech “superfan” Jeff Orr.
On Tuesday morning Ford appeared on ESPNU’s Katz’s Korner with host Andy Katz to discuss more specifically the situation which unfolded on Saturday evening with six second remaining in the Cowboys’ third consecutive loss.
Kelly Hines, of the Tulsa World, transcribed the interview on Tuesday afternoon.
Ford declined to comment on the specifics of what was said to Smart, citing that he was not there to hear it firsthand. He was also unaware that Smart was in an altercation with a fan. The Oklahoma State bench was at the far end of the court during that incident, and Ford was under the impression, even after discussing it with an official, that Smart had shoved an opposing player on the floor.
“But I know a lot of people are saying I should have done this or should have done that, but I had six seconds left,” Ford told Katz. “I had to get the guys (together) who were actually out there. I took Marcus out, got our security guy with him and I had to regroup our guys who were actually in the game, trying to figure out how to end the game and give ourselves an opportunity to win it. There were still six seconds left, so there was still time for us to make a shot if they missed free throws. … But once I saw it – because I did not see it until even after my press conference – I saw what had happened. … Once I saw the tape, he was very, very calm as he fouled the guy and fell into kind of the cameraman and into the fans a little bit. He was still very calm because there were a couple of fans who actually helped him up and he was very calm, and then all of a sudden you could see something was said and he just turned around in a split second and made a major, major mistake.”
Many questioned as to why Smart wasn’t ejected from the game, though Big 12 officials do not have the authority to do so. That’s why Smart remained on the floor. As Ford said, there was still time for an unlikely comeback especially after Jaye Crockett made it a two-possession game with a pair of free throws. Fans stormed the floor immediately as the buzzer sounded while Smart was still on the floor, upset over the events that occurred moments earlier.
Three days later, Ford admits he should have sent Smart to the locker room in hindsight.
“Yes, we could have taken him straight to the locker room and probably should have at that point,” Ford told ESPNU. “He was not thrown out of the game. … I took him out of the game at that particular time. Now should we have taken him on to the locker room, right now looking at it, yes.”
Oklahoma State begins its first of three games without Smart on Tuesday night against No. 15 Texas.