Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart shoved a fan near the end of the Cowboys’ 65-61 loss at Texas Tech on Saturday.
With little more than six seconds left in the game, Smart fouled Red Raiders forward Jaye Crockett on a dunk attempt and stumbled out of bounds behind the baseline. As Smart was being helped up, he appeared to exchange words with a fan before shoving the man with both hands. The fan, wearing a black Texas Tech shirt, stumbled but didn’t fall. Smart was then led away by his teammates.
Smart pointed back in the fan’s direction as he was led to the bench and assessed a technical foul. He sat on the bench until the final buzzer. According to ESPN, Smart later told coaches that the fan used an unidentified racial slur.
The fan was later identified as Jeff Orr, who was profiled on Texas Tech’s website in 2010 and identified as the program’s “Number One Fan.” Orr once traveled over 30,000 miles in a season to see Texas Tech play. He was also caught on camera directing this gesture at Texas A&M player Bryan Davis during a game in 2010.
A Texas Tech athletic department spokesman told ESPN they’ve never had problems with Orr “crossing the line” previously. Texas Tech has not released an official statement on the incident.
Davis, the Texas A&M player, weighed in on Orr and Smart’s confrontation only a few minutes after the game came to an end.
Former Oklahoma State guard and NBA star Desmond Mason said he’d subject to racial slurs many times when playing in Lubbock but didn’t excuse Smart’s behavior.
Another former Oklahoma State guard, John Lucas III, also took to Twitter after the game and was a little more sympathetic to Smart.
It wasn’t the first time Smart, thought to be one of the NBA’s top draft prospects, had trouble keeping his composure in the waning moments of a frustrating performance: he scored a season-low four points and was visibly upset in a win over West Virginia on Jan. 25. He later apologized to his teammates on Twitter for his behavior.