Stillwater News Press

February 22, 2014

Losing streak over

By Jason Elmquist
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — Several embarrassing streaks came to an end Saturday inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Sophomore point guard Marcus Smart made his return to the hardwood after serving a three-game suspension for shoving a fan at Texas Tech. And most importantly, the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team win halted its seven-game losing stretch with an 84-62 victory over Texas Tech.

“I think Marcus was the difference. Getting our point guard back, our leader, was exciting,” junior forward Le’Bryan Nash said. “We got the crowd back. Marcus had 10 assists and that helped with him controlling the game.

“You can just tell he controls the whole game and that’s what we need. We need him back and I can say it was an A-plus performance from him.”

Smart finished with 16 points, 10 assists, six steals and two blocks in his return to the Cowboy lineup.

Smart wasn’t the only one sharing the ball, however. Oklahoma State (17-10, 5-9 in Big 12) finished with 20 assists on its 29 field goals — with senior guard Markel Brown contributing with five assists to go with his 11 points.

“We spent an extensive amount of time the last three days on passing the basketball and moving the basketball,” Ford said. “I’ve never done as many ball-movement drills in my life than we’ve done the last three days. It was good to see the guys go out there and execute and do some of the things we’ve been working on.”

With Brown and Smart getting their teammates involved, Nash scored a game-high 21 points to give OSU a 42-28 advantage in points in the paint, while Phil Forte, who remained in the starting lineup with Smart’s return, put the pressure on the perimeter with 20 points — knocking down 4 of 8 from 3-point range.

The Cowboys got things going offensively by suffocating the Red Raiders on defense. OSU scored 21 points off of Texas Tech’s 15 turnovers.

Oklahoma State has a short turnaround, traveling to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on Big 12 cellar-dweller TCU at 6 p.m. Monday. Then things heat up for OSU with contests against Kansas (20-6, 11-2), Kansas State (18-9, 8-6) and Iowa State (21-5, 9-5) to close out the regular season.

“We can start a winning streak instead of that losing streak,” Nash said. “It feels good seeing everyone in a good mood in the locker room right now. We have to just keep moving right now and keep pushing.”