Oklahoma State suspended star guard Marcus Smart three games for shoving a Texas Tech fan in the final seconds of Saturday night's game, coach Travis Ford announced Sunday.
Smart tried to block forward Jaye Crockett's dunk attempt from behind with 6.2 seconds to go and then stumbled out of bounds behind the basket.
Smart confronted Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr late during the game in Lubbock, Texas. Orr said something to the All-America guard that set him off. Smart shoved Orr with two hands, and teammates quickly pulled Smart away as he pointed back at Orr. Smart was given a technical foul and did not play the final seconds of the game.
"I want to apologize to the fan, whose name is Jeff Orr, I want to apologize to him, my teammates, my coach," Smart said at a press conference Sunday evening in Stillwater, Okla. "This is not how I condone msyelf. I just can't let that happen again. It's a lesson I'll have to learn from. It's all upon me. I truly apologize to all those that are important to me. I feel I let my teammates down."
Smart, who is averaging 17.5 points and 5.7 rebounds this season, did not take questions.
Sources told ESPN's Jeff Goodman that Smart believed Orr uttered a racial slur on Saturday. On Sunday, neither Smart nor Ford addressed what Orr said to provoke Smart's actions, but Orr issued a statement through Texas Tech's website claiming he did not use a racial slur and said he called Smart "a piece of crap."
Orr's statement read as follows: "I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere apologies to Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, Tubby Smith and the Texas Tech Men's Basketball program. My actions last night were inappropriate and do not reflect myself or Texas Tech - a university I love dearly. I regret calling Mr. Smart a 'piece of crap' but I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind. Additionally, I would like to offer my apologies to Texas Tech fans that have been embarrassed by the attention this incident has created."
According to ESPN, Orr also offered not to attend any more Texas Tech basketball games the rest of this season.
Ford made a statement, took questions and showed strong support for Smart's character.
"I know Marcus Smart. I've been around him pretty much on a daily basis for two years, and undoubtedly, no question, was not one of his finer moments," Ford said. "But Marcus Smart has had many great moments as a person, as a player, and I know Marcus Smar'ts heart. I know how he's hurting. I know how regretful he is right not. Those are the things that make me love Marcus Smart. Marcus knows he made a big mistake last night.
"The majority of the time, the highest percentage of the time, he's conducted himself as a tremendous young man," Ford said. "But he's made a mistake. ... I am very confident, extremely confident, because I do know Marcus Smart, when he comes back ... he's going to gain everybody else's trust that he's lost.
"Marcus has my full support. Unwaivering support."
The Big 12 released a statement from commissioner Bob Bowlsby:
"Mr. Smart's actions were a clear violation of the Big 12 Conference's Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy. Such behavior has no place in athletics, and will not be tolerated. I appreciate the efforts of Oklahoma State University athletics director Mike Holder in addressing this matter, and believe this is an appropriate response to an inappropriate action."Copyright © 2015, RedEye