By Jason Elmquist
OKLAHOMA CITY —
It was a sluggish game in front of a small crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City in between Oklahoma State and Louisiana Tech in the All-College Classic.
Both teams struggled on offense, excelled on defense with OSU junior forward Le'Bryan Nash having the most success to help pace the seventh-ranked Pokes to a 70-55 victory after a weeklong layoff.
Nash scored a game-high 22 points on 8 of 17 shooting — along with 6 of 8 from the free throw line — and led all players with 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive end, en route to winning the Henry P. Iba MVP award for the event.
"My teammates are always telling me to be aggressive and score," Nash said. "I'm just trying to play to my ability and stay within 15 feet of the basketball. I've really just been trying to get to the rim and finish."
Oklahoma State had three other players that managed to score double digits — as only six Cowboy players contributed to the final score. Marcus Smart scraped in 13 points on 3 of 8 shooting, while Kamari Murphy (10) and Markel Brown (13) also topped double figures.
The Cowboys struggled offensively against the athletic Louisiana Tech squad. Oklahoma State went 26 of 60 (43.3 percent) from the field and it took a 3-pointer by Brown with 3:13 left in the game to extend OSU's streak to 429 straight games with a 3-pointer. Freshman Stevie Clark added another in the final minute of the contest to make it 2 for 12 for OSU from behind the arc.
Fortunately for OSU, its defense was still strong.
Oklahoma State forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over 16 times, and Louisiana Tech made just 21 of its 64 shots from the field (32.8 percent) — making only 23 percent from 3-point range with 6 of 26 shooting.
"They knew how we were going to attack. They knew who was getting shots when, where and how we were going to get them," Louisiana Tech coach Michael White said. "They are extremely versatile and interchangeable. ... We can get around most teams with our speed and quickness, but we couldn't get around these guys very well."
The Pokes will return to Gallagher-Iba Arena Tuesday for a matchup with Delaware State before traveling to Las Vegas for a highly anticipated game with former Big 12 foe Colorado.