By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma State shook off a rough start to beat Texas 78-65 on Saturday in Stillwater. Here’s some rapid reaction:
With less than three minutes remaining in the first half, OSU trailed 29-26. The Cowboys were sloppy (nine turnovers) and stagnant throughout the first 17 minutes and an inspired Texas team took advantage. But the Cowboys natural talent is always capable of a sudden spurt. And it came late in the first half. Le’Bryan Nash started it with a jumper, Phil Forte rained in a three and then Marcus Smart put in five points in a seven-second span (complete with a crafty steal) to finish off an 11-2 run that gave OSU, despite its struggles, a six-point halftime lead.
It was over when…
…OSU rode that momentum to a second-half blowout. The Cowboys played quick and controlled, blitzing Texas with their athleticism and playing structured enough within the offense to consistently get good shots. They are playing great basketball right now, winning 10 of the past 11, getting healthy and hitting their stride at the perfect time. It’s March 2nd and the Pokes look like a legit tourney threat.
Star of the game – Markel Brown
The highlights were incredible (see video below), but the consistent production was more important. His continued development as a shooter/playmaker has been well-documented and well-earned. But I still get the feeling people underrate the impact he’s had here in three seasons. Brown become just the 37th player in OSU history to score 1,000 career points on Saturday. And he’s still got a year left.
Unsung hero – Brian Williams
Williams is getting healthier and OSU is getting scarier. Those two coincide. The Cowboys defensive stopper had nine quick points in 16 productive minutes on Saturday. Instant energy and an improving offensive game.
Sloppy first half for Marcus Smart (five turnovers), but his typically stacked box score: 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and four steals. Ran the team beautifully in the second half.
Stats of note
-Markel Brown became the 37th player in Oklahoma State history to score 1,000 career points.
-Phil Forte’s four threes were the most he has hit in more than 10 games. Huge sign for OSU.
-Le’Bryan Nash has scored 60 points in the past three games. His most consistent stretch since the Puerto Rico trip.
-OSU hasn’t lost a game in regulation since Jan. 21 at Baylor.
-The Cowboys swept Texas for the first time since 2004.
The two-hand windmill, with relative ease. Just add it to Markel Brown’s ever-expanding list.
Two big ones to close out the season for the Cowboys. At Iowa State on Wednesday, which is always tough to play, before the regular season finale at home against Kansas State next Saturday.