By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
After erasing a double-digit second-half deficit, Oklahoma State held off the sharpshooting Iowa State Cyclones for a 78-76 win in Stillwater on Wednesday night. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Travis Ford cleared the floor and handed it to his freshman floor general. In a wild back-and-forth affair (Isn’t it always with OSU-ISU hoops?), the game came down to the final play. Who had the ball last? It fell in the hands of Marcus Smart. And he delivered, weaving through the lane with a euro step and dropping through the first game-winner of his promising career, with three seconds left.
It was over when…
…A wild 1.9-second sequence, with fouls and turnovers and lengthy referee conferences, finally concluded with a missed three from Iowa State.
Star of the game – Marcus Smart
His line: 21 points (9/15 shooting), 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 game-winner. Not your typical freshman. But that’s been the story all year. He ran the show beautifully, picked his spots to attack and came up big in the deciding moment. Can’t ask for much more.
Unsung hero – Phil Forte
He shot a decent 3/8 from deep, hitting some big ones early and missing some big ones late, but it wasn’t Forte’s offense that mattered most. He changed the game with his late-game defense, snatching a steal in the backcourt (from a guy eight inches taller) and stepping in front of another pass one possession later. Two steals. Two of the biggest steals of the season.
Stats of note
-Iowa State shot 13/24 (54.2 percent) from three. Chris Babb, who’s season-high coming in was three triples, went 5/6.
-Le’Bryan Nash finished with 18 points. OSU is now 7-2 when he scored 15+.
-The final 1.9 seconds of this game featured three possessions, two turnovers, one missed shot and two Le’Bryan Nash fouls. That’s some terrible efficiency.
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg on Marcus Smart: “He’s one of the best players in the country. Just a winner…He’s a stud.”
From one Poke to another
Not needed, but why not a reverse for some style points.
The halfcourt heave
Photo of the game
Phil Forte going all Jason Terry after Smart’s game-winner
Oklahoma State takes its horrid Big 12 road record (1-21 since early 2009) into the toughest place to play in America (arguably). The Cowboys visit #2 Kansas on Saturday. Should be interesting to see how they respond to the environment.