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LUBBOCK, Texas – It had been seven years since Texas Tech drew a sellout crowd at home. The arena was packed Saturday night, though, and that fueled the Red Raiders to their second win over a Top 25 team in less than a month.
Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith was ecstatic about the 65-61 victory over No. 19 Oklahoma State and said it was "amazing" to see the building full.
"We've been an underdog in every game we've played pretty much and we finally found a way to win," he said. "I think it validates that we're moving in the right direction and I think the fans feel that and the administration feels that and I feel that way, and our players are starting to believe and play with that type of confidence. We believe we can play with anyone."
The waning moments got wild, when Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart shoved a fan behind the basket.
Smart tried to block Jaye Crockett's dunk attempt from behind with 6.2 seconds to go and tumbled into the front row of the crowd. He was helped to his feet by one man but then got in the face of another fan in a black shirt.
The man appeared to say something to Smart, who then shoved him with two hands. The fan stumbled backward a bit but didn't fall.
Teammates quickly pulled an angry Smart away from the fracas, and he pointed back in the direction of the fan. Smart was called for a technical foul but was not ejected.
Crockett scored 21 points and tied his season high with 12 rebounds to lead Texas Tech, which handed the Cowboys (16-7, 4-6 Big 12) their fourth straight loss.
The game was tied at 61 when Crockett hit the go-ahead shot with 41 seconds remaining. Oklahoma State's Le'Bryan Nash lost the ball in the lane, and Crockett raced toward the basket at the other end.
Smart knocked the ball away and was called for a foul, then pushed the fan and drew the technical. Dusty Hannahs and Crockett each made one of two free throws for the final margin.
"We needed this win tonight," Crockett said. "The fans were great, they gave us a lot of energy. Hopefully we can get them to come out and realize that they're helping us win these games."
The Red Raiders (12-11, 4-6) earned their second victory over a ranked team in the past month. They beat then-No. 12 Baylor in January.
"Fifteen turnovers is extremely uncharacteristic of us, and crucial turnovers at crucial times throughout the game really, really hurt us," OSU coach Travis Ford said. "It's tough, especially the last two games coming down to the wire and other teams making some big plays and we just don't come up with it."
The score was tied 13 times and the lead changed 12 times as each team put together runs throughout the game.
Smart scored 22 points and Phil Forte had 15 to lead the Cowboys.
Smart has had some inconsistent stretches this season and has shown frustration at times, but is considered one of the best all-around players in the country.
The sophomore guard had a fantastic start to the season, leading to speculation that he could be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft this year. He has struggled in some recent games, though, including a four-point effort against West Virginia when he kicked a chair on the bench. That led to him apologizing to his teammates afterward.
None of Texas Tech's players had ever played before a sellout crowd at home. The last two at United Spirit Arena came in January 2007, including New Year's Day when former Red Raiders coach Bob Knight got his 880th win to become the winningest coach in Division I.
This victory gave the Red Raiders as many Big 12 wins this season as they had the past two years combined.
The Cowboys used a 17-7 run to open the second half, including two 3-pointers from Forte, five points from Nash and six from Smart, to go up 44-36. But the Red Raiders didn't buckle. They used a 9-2 run on baskets by Kader Tapsoba, Randy Onwuasor and Crockett, and a 3-pointer by Onwuasor, to pull to 46-45 with 11:14 remaining.
Texas Tech went up 51-48 on a 3 by Crockett right before Kamari Murphy picked up his fourth foul with 7:47 left.
The Cowboys answered, getting buckets from Smart, Murphy and Forte and culminating with a 3 from Smart to go up 57-54 with 4:31 remaining. Crockett quickly tied at 57 it with a 3.
The Cowboys struggled early, hitting just one field goal in 11 tries. But Oklahoma State used a 10-0 run, including a dunk by Nash, layups by Smart and Markel Brown and a 3-pointer by Forte, to go up 14-10.
The Red Raiders answered with a 9-2 run that included four points from Crockett and three from Toddrick Gotcher, and an 8-2 run in the final 1:29 of the half to lead 29-27.
Oklahoma State's point total for the half was a season low.