STILLWATER — Coming off back-to-back losses by a combined seven points and with a trip to Bedlam rival Oklahoma on Saturday, Oklahoma State was in search of a victory by any means necessary.
A 63-45 Cowboy win over TCU, the Big 12 Conference's lowest-scoring team, was not exactly what head coach Travis Ford was looking for, even though he was more than happy enough to accept it. Oklahoma State (11-3, 1-1) committed 24 turnovers but never led by fewer than 14 points over the final 20 minutes after leading 36-22 at halftime.
"I'm glad we won," said Ford. "You never want to sound too greedy, but I'm not too happy with how we played. I didn't think we played with the passion we normally play with, but it was just an ugly game. It wasn't pretty on both sides and we better bounce back quickly."
No. 9 Gonzaga beat Oklahoma State by one point on Dec. 31. The Cowboys opened the Big 12 schedule with a six-point loss at No. 18 Kansas State last Saturday. Wednesday was never in doubt as OSU raced to a 23-13 advantage early and back-to-back baskets by Markel Brown put the hosts up 50-30 early in the second half.
Against TCU (9-6, 0-2), three Cowboys scored in double figures led by Brown and Marcus Smart, who each finished with 14 points. The third, Le'Bryan Nash, had not reached double figures in three games. The sophomore scored nine in the first half and totaled 11 for the game.
"There is no doubt in my mind that I can score a lot," said Nash, who is averaging 13.8 points. "My team needs me to score, so that's what I focused on. Getting back in a groove and scoring the ball. I blame myself for the three losses because I wasn't in a groove and I just want to help this team out as much as I can.
"I just tried to be more aggressive this game and it worked out for me."
TCU entered Wednesday as the Big 12's worst rebounding team. It showed again as Philip Jurick grabbed 10 rebounds to lead OSU to a 40-17 rebounding edge. Brown, Nash, and Kamari Murphy each had six rebounds.
Garlon Green led all scorers with 20 points. Kyan Anderson, who entered averaging 12.5 points per game, finished with 10, all in the second half as TCU hit 17 of 47 shots.
"Obviously for us, I don't think there's any team you can catch at the right time," TCU coach Trent Johnson said. "(OSU) is a basketball team that had a little chip and they were ready to play like they always are. They're very balanced and they play truly hard and they have a nastiness to them that I really like."
The defensive effort continued to shine for the Cowboys. Five times this season opponents have failed to reach 20 points in the opening 20 minutes. A desperation 40-footer at the buzzer by Charles Hill gave the Horned Frogs 22 first-half points. Johnson's squad improved that by one point in the second half.
Jurick, a 6-foot-11 senior, had a lot to do with TCU managing just 14 points in the paint and the major rebounding edge.
"You have to tip your hat to them, I thought they did a good job," said Johnson, whose club plays at Baylor on Saturday. "I love (Philip) Jurick. He's got a lot of edge to him. He's going to be key to them going a long way if he can control his temper. I like guys like that because it's easy to slow them down, but you never want them to get started."
"A win is a win, especially in the Big 12," said Jurick. "It means a lot, so we just need to move on to the next one and prepare like we did for this one."