After a slow start, Marcus Smart demonstrated his improved jump shot and range, driving OSU to what appeared to be an insurmountable 20+ point half time lead on their way to another blowout win.
Hold on a minute.....
The Cowboys came out flat, Purdue came out with attitude, yet Ford's crew managed to keep the margin around 20.
Then Smart went to the bench after picking up his 3rd and 4th fouls on a personal and uncharacteristic technical arguing after the call.
Before we knew it, the lead was 4 with under 5 to play.
Enter Markel Brown.
With Brown hitting a couple of buttery jumpers and knifing to the goal for a nice lay in, Smart entered late to help nail down a 10 point win over a decent Purdue squad. Nash once again contributed moderate, but important points on the offensive end, while showing his new found physical play on the defensive end.
But the most important development was Smart's time on the bench.
The Cowboys missed Stevie Clark.
Brown did an admirable job taking care of the ball, but he's not capable of creating off the dribble against a solid PG defender, and it takes him away from the 2-3 position where he is so dangerous on the pull up or the cut. Foul trouble also caused a bit of a problem inside, as both Cobbins and Murphy fouled out. You can bet Kansas was watching closely as Purdue's size gave OSU some trouble on the boards late.
A good win after losing that big lead, and a good test with Smart on the bench.
But it was obvious today that, besides Smart, Stevie Clark may be the most important piece of the puzzle if the Cowboys hope to match the hype they have created up to this point, and that piece is currently up in the air.