MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Just a few minutes into Oklahoma State's game at West Virginia Saturday, it looked like the ghosts of Wednesday's double-overtime loss to Kansas had followed the Cowboys to Morgantown.
The WVU Coliseum crowd was rocking, the Mountaineers had jumped out to a 7-2 lead and, worst of all, Marcus Smart picked up his third foul just 2:34 into the game.
Instead of panicking, the Cowboys calmed down, clawed back into the first half — without Smart — and ran away with the second en route to a 73-57 win.
“We were looking to light a fire under our team, I just didn't see it,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “After all that happened — we got down, things didn't seem to go our way — I think it refocused us in some strange way.”
With Smart out for the final 17 minutes of the first half, the Cowboys turned to other options as they gathered their composure. Le'Bryan Nash had 16 points, including 10 in the first half, and Brian Williams scored a season-high 13.
Smart returned for the second half, and didn't pick up another foul the rest of the way. Even though he didn't record his first field-goal attempt until four minutes into the second half, the freshman finished with 14 points, four assists and three steals.
“We did a lot to protect him, too,” Ford said. “We changed him in positions in our press, we put him in different spots in our zone. We tried to protect him as much as we could to keep him out of foul trouble, but he's a smart player.”
After fighting back to take a 35-33 halftime lead, Oklahoma State wasted little time putting the game out of reach in the second half. After a 3-pointer from West Virginia's Matt Humphrey cut the Cowboys' lead to 45-41 with 14:39 to play, Oklahoma State roared back with a 15-4 run — highlighted by seven points from Smart — over the next 5:50 to put the game out of reach.
Continue reading this story on the...