KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With fatigue setting in on the season-weary Cowboys Wednesday night, some kind of spark was needed.
Cezar Guerrero wasn't tired.
“I'm the one with the fresh legs at the moment,” Guerrero said.
The freshman guard, lost on the bench for much of the conference schedule, continued his late-season rebirth at the Sprint Center, scoring 10 points during a key second-half surge to restore order in a 76-60 win over Texas Tech at the Big 12 Tournament.
Oklahoma State, improving to 15-17, advances to face Missouri in Thursday night's quarterfinal round. Tip time is 6 p.m.
Down to six full-time scholarship players due to injuries and earlier defections, the Cowboys didn't even go through a full-scale practice since Saturday's loss at Kansas State. Still, they mustered enough energy to get past Tech, which fell to 8-23 and lost to OSU for the third time this season.
“Well, words really can't describe how proud I am of our basketball team,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “They continue to amaze me.
“For these guys to continue to play as hard as they are, it's just fun to watch. They're fun to coach.”
The Cowboys had led by as many as 13 late in the first half, yet saw the Red Raiders surge in front for the first time all night behind a 17-3 run that spanned both sides of the halftime break.
Suddenly down 36-35, Guerrero took over, firing in back-to-back 3-pointers and scoring on a layup off a turnover as OSU pushed back in front 45-36, never to be seriously challenged again.
“The momentum swung to them,” said Cowboys guard Brian Williams. “CJ scored a couple of baskets there, and we just fed off of Cezar.”