Mens: Oklahoma St. 71, Texas Tech 59
Thursday, March 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Oklahoma State may have locked up an NCAA tournament bid Thursday, but the fate of Texas Tech coach James Dickey was the main topic of conversation after the Cowboys' 71-59 win over the Red Raiders in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.
Before the game, Dickey refused comment on reports that the school had talked with former Indiana coach Bob Knight about joining the Red Raiders.
Afterward, Dickey didn't have much more to say.
``I'm going to be the basketball coach at Texas Tech as long as I'm allowed to be,'' he said. ``I'm the coach until someone tells me differently.''
Dickey, 166-124 in 10 years as Texas Tech coach, had come under fire after finishing 3-13 in the regular season league race, tied with Texas A&M for last place. Published reports in Texas and Indiana on Thursday said the Tech president and athletic director had met with Knight in Florida to talk with him about replacing Dickey.
Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton spoke up for Dickey, a former assistant.
``He's been extremely loyal to Texas Tech,'' Sutton said, ``but they haven't shown him much loyalty if it's true they went out and talked to Bob Knight or any other coach.''
Dickey denied the rumors were a distraction, but the Red Raiders played much of the game as if they were distracted.
Cliff Owens missed a high lob slam-dunk on Tech's first possession and the Cowboys (20-8) took a quick 8-2 lead.
Tech (9-19) led briefly at 16-15 on a basket by Jamal Brown, who finished with 14, but Maurice Baker scored seven points in a 13-0 run and the Cowboys went on to a 32-18 halftime lead.
The Cowboys, who have become the sentimental favorite in the Big 12 tournament in the wake of the January plane crash that killed 10 members of their traveling party, opened the second half with a 13-2 run.
Tech then hit six straight free throws and went on a 19-0 run of its own to close to 45-39.
``When you lose intensity it shows up on the defensive end and rebounding,'' Sutton said. ``I was disappointed to let that big lead get away.''
Fredrik Jonzen scored five points as the Cowboys ran off the next 10 and went on to beat the Red Raiders for the third time this season.
Baker scored 31 points, including 5-of-6 3-point shots, and had seven rebounds and seven assists to lead Oklahoma State, which will play No. 20 Texas Friday in the second round.
``He's a great guard,'' said Tech's Jayson Mitchell. ``He just took us apart defensively. He was all over the court out there.''
Jonzen added 21 points and had nine rebounds for the Cowboys.
Tech shot just 29 percent from the field, and only 4-of-21 on 3-point shots.