Tahlequah Daily Press

College Sports

January 9, 2014

Smart, Cowboys rally to upend Texas

STILLWATER — All it takes is one play to change the outlook of a game.

For No. 11 Oklahoma State and its star sophomore point guard Marcus Smart, it was an air-ball at the free throw line late in the first half.

With OSU trailing by seven with just over three minutes left in the half, the future NBA drafty lottery pick whiffed on the front-end of a pair of free throws — which drew a smirk from the Flower Mound, Texas, native.

"I just tried to not let it get to me," Smart said.

OSU senior Markel Brown quipped, "It did spark him for the rest of the game. Maybe we need him to shoot air balls more often."

After that miss, Smart got things on track to propel the Pokes to a 87-74 victory over Texas for OSU's first win of the Big 12 Conference season.

Smart 18 points in the final 23 minutes — going 10 for 11 from the free throw line — to finish with a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds to go with a game-high five assists and six steals.

"I thought he gave an incredible, Marcus Smart performance tonight," Cowboy coach Travis Ford said. "You look at his stat line, it's ridiculous. ... And there were some certain areas he could have done even better. But I thought his effort was off the chart tonight."

While it took Smart some time to get going, senior shooting guard Brown continued to be consistent for the Cowboys. The Alexandria, La., native scored a game-high 27 points — shooting 8 of 13 from the field and 11 of 14 at the free throw line — with four assists.

"He complements me and others in different ways," Smart said of the lone OSU senior. "Markel is one of those guys you want on your team because of his leadership, but you know he's going to do it on both ends. That's the type of player you want on your team."

Despite the Longhorns (11-4, 0-2) having a vast size advantage in the post, Oklahoma State (13-2, 1-1) utilized its guard to penetrate the paint — which led to foul trouble for Texas' post players. The Cowboys matched UT with 34 points in the paint, but still allowed Texas to haul in 45 rebounds — including 20 offensive boards.

With OSU down it's top post player in Michael Cobbins, who is out of the year with an Achilles injury, the Cowboys got a boost from its perimeter players. Brown came up with a pair of blocks, with forward Kamari Murphy getting four blocks in 25 minutes of action.

"We were helping down on those bigs. We're going to have to do a lot of that now that Mike's out," Brown said. "Somebody's got to protect the rim in there, and it's got to be from guards and forwards now."

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