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Sports

February 27, 2013

Nash, Smart lead Oklahoma State men in rout of TCU

FORT WORTH, Texas — Marcus Smart got the loudest pregame cheers among Oklahoma State players facing TCU in something of a high school reunion.

Le’Bryan Nash made sure all the family and friends went home happy.

Nash scored a career-high 28 points, Smart had his typically strong all-around game not far from the school where he won two state championships, and No. 15 Oklahoma State beat offensively challenged TCU 64-47 on Wednesday night.

Nash had the first two baskets in an 18-1 run that bridged the first and second halves and put the Cowboys (21-6, 11-4 Big 12) in control for good.

Smart, a freshman who won back-to-back state titles at Flower Mound Marcus High School, had nine points, five assists and three steals — all categories in which he is among the Big 12 leaders.

If Nash, who played high school ball a little farther away in Dallas, noticed the louder ovation for his new teammate, he sure didn’t mind.

“Marcus is a fan favorite,” said Nash, who was 12 of 16 from the field and tied Michael Cobbins for the team lead with six rebounds. “He invited a lot of people, and I’m glad they came. They’re Marcus Smart fans, but they’re also OSU fans. When he makes great plays, good things happen.”

Kyan Anderson led the Horned Frogs with 15 points. Reserve Devonta Abron had 12 points and nine rebounds.

TCU (10-18, 1-14), one of the lowest-scoring teams in the country, missed 12 straight shots while going more than 10 minutes without a field goal and ended up shooting 27 percent.

Playing before plenty of orange-clad fans on TCU’s home court, the Cowboys won for the ninth time in 10 games and stayed within a game of Kansas and Kansas State with three games left in the race for the Big 12 regular-season title.

“I talked to them before we left about let’s stay focused and understand why we’re coming on this trip,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “Because I told them I knew there was going to be a lot of family and friends around. I reminded them before the game that we needed to be locked in.”

The Horned Frogs had their scoring drought a little later than when they scored just nine points in the first half of a 74-48 loss at Kansas on Saturday. TCU was playing a ranked opponent at home for the first time since knocking off the No. 6 Jayhawks on Feb. 6.

“Coach is always talking about, that Kansas can happen to us,” Nash said. “We expected a lot of what they did against Kansas and it could have happened to us. But we put our heads together and came away with a win.”

TCU’s only point during Oklahoma State’s 18-1 run was a free throw by Addrick McKinney late in the first half. The upset of Kansas was the only time in their first 15 Big 12 games that the Horned Frogs scored 60 points. Wednesday marked the 11th time this season that they failed to reach 50.

By the time Anderson hit a 3-pointer with 14 1/2 minutes left, Oklahoma State had a 44-24 lead.

“We had great shots,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “We put so much pressure on our defense when we don’t make shots.”

After Nash’s back-to-back buckets put the Cowboys ahead 30-23, Smart really got the decisive run going by hitting a 3-pointer and getting a steal that led to a layup by Brian Williams, who was fouled. Williams missed the free throw, but made up for it with a steal and breakaway dunk to put Oklahoma State ahead 38-24 at halftime.

Nash topped his previous career high of 27 against Missouri on Jan. 25, 2012.

“In my opinion that’s as versatile a team as we have in our league,” Johnson said. “They can play fast. They can play slow. We didn’t have an answer for Nash, but make no mistake about it, the key to that whole thing is what Smart does. He’s special.”

Oklahoma State improved to 19-2 against the Horned Frogs, who last beat the Cowboys in 1986. The Cowboys shot 55 percent to overcome TCU’s 14-3 edge in offensive rebounds.

“I’m worried about every game. But these games can jump up and bite you,” Ford said. “I’m glad we won. There’s something to be said for that. There were some things I wasn’t happy about, too.”

The Horned Frogs stayed close for most of the first half, trailing 26-23 with 5 minutes left, despite hovering around 30 percent shooting, because they dominated in offensive rebounding.

“We came out with a lot of intensity,” Anderson said. “Everybody in the locker room seemed to be ready. But offensively and defensively, we couldn’t get it done.”

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