DALLAS (AP) -- Once Oklahoma State made an unexpected switch to a
zone defense and Daniel Bobik rediscovered his 3-point shooting
touch, Texas Tech was in trouble.
Bobik started and ended a game-turning run before halftime with
3-pointers, right after Oklahoma State's defensive adjustment, and
the No. 7 Cowboys beat Texas Tech 82-77 Saturday to advance to the
championship game of the Big 12 tournament.
"Our zone saved us," Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton said. "We
couldn't cover them. They were just picking us to death, screening
us to death."
Oklahoma State (26-3) went to the zone after a timeout with 7:47
left before halftime with the score tied. Two minutes later, the
Cowboys had their first lead, and a minute after that Bobik's first
3-pointer started a first half-ending 14-1 run.
"When we had to make a shot against the zone, we couldn't,"
Tech coach Bob Knight said. "It's been our weakness all year long.
We need to be better shooting, instead of relying on our
Sutton even stopped after halftime and explained himself to
Knight, a longtime friend and also an admirer of legendary Oklahoma
State coach Henry Iba.
"Knowing how Mr. Iba hated zones, when I walked by, I said 'I
know Mr. Iba's probably frowning down right now, but we can't cover
you," Sutton said.
Oklahoma State has won 16 of 17 games since an 83-62 loss to
Texas Tech at Lubbock on Jan. 10.
After winning its first Big 12 regular season title, Oklahoma
State gets a chance Sunday to win the league's tournament for the
first time. The Cowboys will play No. 11 Texas, a 64-60 winner over
No. 18 Kansas in the other semifinal game.
The Cowboys lost to Kansas in their only other Big 12 title game
in 1999. Their last tournament championship was in the Big Eight
Conference in 1995.
Texas Tech (22-10) appears certain to go the NCAA tournament for
the second time in three seasons under Knight. The Red Raiders
played in the NIT last year and reached the semifinals.
While Bobik's three 3-pointers accounted for all of his points,
each was big.
Bobik's 3 off an inbound pass with 4:25 left in the first half
put Oklahoma State ahead 30-28, and started the 14-1 run. On the
final shot of the half, he hit another one for a 41-29 lead.
As Bobik's half-ending shot went through the basket, he stumbled
back on the ground. Laying on his back, he pumped both fists in the
air before being surrounded by his teammates.
"That was a momentum change for us," said John Lucas, who led
the Cowboys with 22 points.
One of the league's top 3-point shooters at 43 percent during
the regular season, Bobik had made just 6-of-28 his last seven
games. He made just one of six in Oklahoma State's quarterfinal win
over Iowa State.
"When he's scoring points, it really takes a lot of pressure
off his teammates," Sutton said. "When he hasn't been scoring,
his man can freelance around and help double up on John."
When Texas Tech cut a 15-point deficit to five in the second
half, Bobik hit his other 3-pointer for a 60-52 lead. The Red
Raiders never got closer than five points after that.
"It's starting to come back for him," Lucas said. "For him to
step up like he did will make us even more dangerous."
After Allen tipped in a missed 3-pointer by Lucas with just
under 16 minutes left, the Cowboys led 52-37.
Texas Tech then scored nine straight points, starting with
Emmett's short bank shot and free throw after being fouled. After
Giles moved inside for a basket, Ronald Ross scored again.
Less than a minute later, Oklahoma State was in front 57-46,
after Allen's third-effort layup and Lucas' steal that led to a
Texas Tech got within five twice after that, but Bobik had his
last 3-pointer and Allen consecutive baskets the next time.
"They zoned us tough," Emmett said. "We didn't get the right
movement until late. It wasn't soon enough."
The Red Raiders scored the game's first five points and had an
18-11 lead, before Oklahoma State tied the game with seven straight
points, getting even on Graham's basket with 10:36 left.
However, the Cowboys didn't take their first lead until Allen's
baseline drive and free throw gave them a 27-26 edge.