By JIM VERTUNO
AUSTIN, Texas — Back in Texas for the second time in four days, the Oklahoma State Cowboys had to leave star guard Marcus Smart back home under orders of the Big 12.
Without him, they didn’t have a chance against the No. 19 Texas Longhorns.
Smart served the first of a three-game suspension for shoving a Texas Tech fan and the Longhorns sent the reeling Cowboys to their fifth straight loss, 87-68 Tuesday night, as guard Javan Felix erupted for 27 points and made six of Texas’ 11 3-pointers.
“We’re going through a tough time right now. We’re not down, not blaming anybody else,” Oklahoma State center Kamari Murphy said. “There’s no excuses.”
The Cowboys didn’t have any answers either. Texas stormed through a 54-point first half and had four players score in double figures despite missing leading scorer Jonathan Holmes, who sat out with an ankle injury.
When the teams met in early January, Smart had 24 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a Cowboys victory. Back then, his defense also helped limit Felix and Longhorns guard Isaiah Taylor to 14 total points. Without the muscular Smart in their face, those two combined for 43 points Tuesday night.
“This has nothing to do with Marcus Smart,” Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “He wasn’t here tonight. We’ve got to play with what we’ve got.”
Le’Bryan Nash scored 23 points to lead the Cowboys (16-8, 4-7).
Sharp-shooting guard Phil Forte, who was Smart’s high-school teammate when they won a Texas state championship on the same court, was just 2-of-7 shooting and never got a chance to open up from long-range. Forward Brian Williams was 0-8 and the Cowboys shot just 36 percent for the game.
Smart still must sit out games against Oklahoma and Baylor before he can return for a rematch with Texas Tech.
“We just waited until the second half to start playing ... which was too late,” Murphy said.
Texas (19-5, 8-3) didn’t miss a beat without Holmes, its best all-around player.
Felix, who missed a game a week ago with a concussion and was just a 30-percent shooter from long range coming in, scored eight consecutive points that pushed the Texas lead to 22 in the first half. Texas led 54-33 at halftime.
“I know I can make those shots. It’s a matter of me taking them,” Felix said.
Martez Walker scored 12 and Cameron Ridley had his sixth double-double of the season for Texas with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Texas’ outburst came three days after the Longhorns scored just 18 points in the first half of a loss at Kansas State that ended a seven-game winning streak. Back home, Texas made eight 3-pointers and shot better than 50 percent for most of the first half.
Conner Lammert, who got just his second start of the season in place of Holmes, made three 3-pointers in the first half. Felix made two 3-pointers and a layup that put Texas ahead 36-14.
Felix opened the second half with two more 3-pointers. He followed the first one with a steal that set up his second in transition. The run ended any chance of a Cowboys rally.
Ford noted that Texas came in as the second-worst shooting team from 3-point range in the Big 12.
“They go out and make 11,” Ford said. “You can’t sit around and hope a team misses, you’ve got to do something about it.”