When Oklahoma State took the court you could tell there was difference in the team. They had confidence about them. Suddenly they weren't the team struggling to persevere with everything falling apart around them. No, they were the team Cowboy Nation had been promised to start the year.
A big part of that was Marcus Smart. There was a lot of attention surrounding his return, and very few athletes can live up to the hype when the pressure is on. Marcus is definitely one of athletes. In his return to the hardwood Smart went off for 16 points, 10 assists, and 6 steals. He is the first player in Big 12 history to do that in a game. That's phenomenal!
It's true that Texas Tech won't be confused for Kansas anytime soon, but this was the game the Cowboys needed to get the monkey off their back.
The Pokes were gut checked in the first half when they went scoreless from 15:09 to 8:31, but Tech couldn't capitalize. After tying the game, the Red Raiders entered their own dry spell and for 4:30 there wasn't a single point scored in the game.
Just as I started to wonder if the Pokes were really back or if it was just a mirage, Smart drew a foul and got to the line. With two quick free throws the Cowboys broke the dry spell, and were back in the lead. Surviving the scoreless stretch no worse for wear gave the Cowboys the confidence they needed.
Texas Tech tried to threaten late in the first half when they pulled within five, but Smart wasn't having any of it. In vintage Marcus Smart style, he scored 4 points in about 0.003 seconds to give the Pokes a nine point lead to close the half.
The Cowboys carried the momentum into the second half and kept the Red Raiders at arms length for the rest of the game; cruising to a 22 point victory.
It was a good all around for the Oklahoma State starters. Le'Bryan Nash led all scorers with 21 points, and grabbed 6 boards. Phil Forte put down 20 points of his own, and a couple of steals. Kamari Murphy also reached double figures in scoring with 10 points, and matched Nash's rebounding effort.
Markel Brown has been the one constant for Cowboy basketball this season, and Saturday marked a pretty important milestone for the senior. With 11 points, he became one of Oklahoma State's top 10 all-time scorers. Just another impressive stat in an truly outstanding career.
Here's the box score for the game.
OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
|Kamari Murphy, C||34||5-9||0-0||0-2||0||6||6||2||0||2||0||2||10|
|Le'Bryan Nash, F||34||7-8||0-0||7-8||1||5||6||2||0||1||1||4||21|
|Marcus Smart, G||35||5-10||0-3||6-7||0||3||3||10||6||2||3||4||16|
|Markel Brown, G||37||5-9||1-2||0-0||0||6||6||5||1||1||2||1||11|
|Phil Forte, III, G||37||5-9||4-8||6-6||0||0||0||0||2||0||1||0||20|
|Leyton Hammonds, F||10||1-4||1-4||0-0||0||2||2||1||0||0||0||2||3|
|Brian Williams, F||8||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Marek Soucek, F||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Christien Sager, F||5||1-1||1-1||0-0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||3|
|Mason Cox, F||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Ford Stuen, G||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Alex Budke, G||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Jackson Perez, G||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
|Jaye Crockett, F||26||3-8||0-3||0-0||1||3||4||2||2||0||3||3||6|
|Dejan Kravic, F||20||2-4||0-0||0-0||2||1||3||1||0||3||0||1||4|
|Jordan Tolbert, F||29||6-9||1-2||2-3||1||9||10||1||1||0||3||4||15|
|Robert Turner, G||23||4-8||2-2||0-4||0||1||1||2||1||0||2||2||10|
|Toddrick Gotcher, G||36||3-7||1-2||1-1||0||3||3||3||1||0||2||1||8|
|Alex Foster, F||7||2-2||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||4|
|Aaron Ross, F||3||1-2||0-1||2-2||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||4|
|Kader Tapsoba, F||8||0-1||0-0||2-2||1||1||2||1||0||0||1||1||2|
|Jamal Williams, Jr., G||14||0-1||0-1||2-2||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||1||2|
|Dusty Hannahs, G||17||2-7||1-3||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||4||5|
|Randy Onwuasor, G||17||1-2||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||1||2|