There's a somber mood surrounding Oklahoma State as it reels from the dismissal of a key reserve and the disappointment of a three-game losing streak.
The 19th-ranked Cowboys look to get back on track on the road Saturday night as they seek a seventh straight victory over Texas Tech.
Freshman guard Stevie Clark was kicked off the team Monday after being arrested for the second time. The news came as a tough blow to Oklahoma State (16-6, 4-5 Big 12), which lost 98-97 in triple overtime to No. 16 Iowa State later that night.
Le'Bryan Nash scored 26 points, Marcus Smart added 20 and Markel Brown finished with 19 and 10 rebounds as the Cowboys fell for the fourth time in five games.
'It's been frustrating, coming off the Baylor loss (last Saturday) and losing Stevie, one of our key teammates and one of my good friends,' Nash said. 'It's hard, but we have to fight through it. Life moves on and we have to get ready for Texas Tech.'
Coach Travis Ford realizes his squad is dealing with some adversity, but he's counting on his team bouncing back. The Cowboys haven't lost four straight since Feb. 12-21, 2011.
'We had our chances,' Ford said. 'We didn't rebound the basketball at crucial times. We didn't make a couple shots when it counted, but the guys played hard.
'We have to weather the storm. We have to get a win. One at a time.'
Oklahoma State has won the last six meetings with Texas Tech by an average of 16.9 points, though first-year coach Tubby Smith has helped the Red Raiders (11-11, 3-6) equal their amount of conference wins from last season with nine Big 12 games left.
Senior forward Jaye Crockett scored 15 points as Texas Tech rallied to beat TCU 60-54 last Saturday. Crockett, averaging team highs of 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds, moved into 29th place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,102 points.
Dejan Kravic scored a season-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds after totaling 12 points in his previous three.
"We were playing from behind, but we've got a great coach and a great group and we just stayed confident," Kravic said. "It's been three kind of down games for me, but all I'm trying to do is play aggressive."
Crockett has played for four coaches in four seasons with Texas Tech, but he's flourishing under Smith.
"I wish I had the opportunity to play for four seasons for coach Smith," Crockett told the school's official website. "He is a remarkable coach and teacher. He has taught me so much in a short time. I love playing for him."
Texas Tech had lost three straight and six of eight prior to its last win, and it now turns its attention to beating Oklahoma State for the first time since Jan. 29, 2011.
"It gives us confidence," Kravic said. "We've got a great team coming here in Oklahoma State, and we're going to have to play our best basketball to get a win. We're looking forward to it."
Kravic and Crockett combined for just 15 points in the last meeting, as Brown scored 25 to help the Cowboys earn a 91-67 road victory Feb. 13.
The Associated Press News Service
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