For the 12th time this season Billy Gillispie sent a different starting lineup out on the floor trying to figure out the winning combination his squad has been lacking for the majority of the season and all of Big 12 Conference play.
Even though it was a new-look starting five, the Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-11, 4-5 in Big 12 play), who have had to deal with their own slew of injuries, did not waver beating Texas Tech 80-63, completing the season series sweep, on Tuesday in the United Spirit Arena.
"A disappointing loss, didn't do enough to win," Tech head coach Billy Gillispie said. "Weren't anywhere nearly good defensively enough. Did enough offensively early especially and parts of the second half, but just could never get a defensive stop, you have to do that to try to win games in the Big 12."
Tech (7-14, 0-9) had no answer for Oklahoma States offense, especially down the stretch and in times when it mattered the most.
Like the first meeting between the two teams on January 4 in Stillwater, which the Cowboys won 67-59, Tech was able to hang in the game for a while before Oklahoma State capitalized on the Red Raiders mistakes to put some distance between them.
With 11 minutes and 37 seconds left in the first half, Tech and Oklahoma State were knotted up at 14 apiece, but the Cowboys proceeded to rattle off eight unanswered points taking a 22-14 lead – Tech would never lead in the game again.
The closest the Red Raiders got in the second half was within six, trailing 48-42 after Ty Nurse drilled a three-pointer swinging the momentum back the Red Raiders was for just a moment.
The Cowboys came out of a timeout and took it right back courtesy of a 10-2 run, thanks primarily to the hot hand of Markel Brown, who finished the game 7-for-12 from the field and racked up 30 points on the night.
Brown was not only good from the field, but also from the charity stripe where he finished 13-for-13 and as a team the Cowboys shot 94.3 percent from the line going 33-for-35.
With the run came a comfortable lead, which the Cowboys rode and continued to pile onto until the final buzzer.
With the victory Oklahoma State notched its first road win in Big 12 play and Cowboys head coach Travis Ford said it all just came down to the team focusing and not worrying about more than they needed too.
"We've talked a lot about in the last couple of days trying to get a road win, we need a road win and this is how we're going to do it," he said. "It wasn't as much about X's and O's , as it was about playing hard, keep playing, don't worry about the score, do the things you can control and our guys did a good job of that. They stayed focused and free-throw shooting was a result of that, just their focus."
Despite getting beat by double digits again, the Red Raiders had three players reach double digits in scoring as Jaye Crockett, Robert Lewandowski and Ty Nurse all eclipsed the 10-point mark, but it wasn't enough to topple the Cowboys.
Crockett, who is averaging 11.7 points per game in Big 12 play, put on a show on Tuesday showing his ability as the sophomore went for 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, marking his second straight double-digit performance and double-double as well.
With the losses piling up, Crockett said the team has to be mentally tough in a situation like this, but does feel they are getting closer to getting over the hump of winning a Big 12 game.
"Everyday we get closer," he said. "Like (Lewandowski) said with practices coach is telling us, you got to do this, you got to do that. Then we'll do good things, but then we'll go back and make a mistake and we just takes steps back instead of steps forward."