Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State's All-American guard, has been suspended three games by the Big 12 Conference for going into the stands and shoving a Texas Tech fan near the end of the 19th-ranked Cowboys' 65-61 loss Saturday night in Lubbock, Texas, the university announced Sunday.
“Marcus Smart made a big mistake last night. He knows that,” Ford said. “I know Marcus Smart. Pretty much been around him on a daily basis for two years. Undoubtedly, last night was not one of his finest moments. But he's had a lot of fine moments as a player and as a person.”
In a statement released on the conference's website, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, “Mr. Smart’s actions were a clear violation of the Big 12 Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy. Such behavior has no place in athletics, and will not be tolerated. I appreciate the efforts of Oklahoma State University athletics director Mike Holder in addressing this matter, and believe this is an appropriate response to an inappropriate action."
The Cowboys were trailing by two points in the final minute when the Red Raiders created a turnover and went on a fastbreak. Smart blocked a layup by Jaye Crockett with 6.2 seconds left but was called for a foul while tumbling across the baseline.
After Smart was helped to his feet, he turned toward the stands and immediately walked to a fan, later identified as Jeff Orr, and pushed him with both hands to the chest as the two exchanged words. Orr stumbled backward but did not fall.
Smart was escorted by teammates back onto the court, where he was assessed a technical foul. The 6-foot-4 guard continued to point and talk back to Orr as he left the court. Smart, who had 22 points, was not ejected from the game, although he remained on the bench when play resumed.
Crockett, who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, made one of two free throws after Dusty Hannahs made one of two technical foul shots to provide the final margin of victory for Texas Tech (12-11, 4-6 in the Big 12 conference). It was the fourth consecutive loss for Oklahoma State (16-7, 4-6).