By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma State finished off the regular season with an impressive 76-70 win over 9th-ranked Kansas State on Saturday. Here’s some rapid reaction:
In a game of lopsided runs, OSU had the biggest and most crucial. Trailing by four with under five minutes to play, the Cowboys scored 14 of the game’s next 15 points, starting with a Marcus Smart jumper (at the 4:35 mark) and ending with two Phil Forte free throws (at the 0:40 mark). It went from 61-57 K-State to 71-62 OSU. The Cowboys have been great at home in crunch time this season. Today was just another example.
It was over when…
…Kansas State, and most notably point guard Angel Rodriguez, stopped making shots. You can credit another solid defensive effort from OSU (and it was good), but the Wildcats missed some open looks. Rodriguez, who struggled through a 3/16 nights, went 0/4 in the final three minutes, with Marcus Smart hounding him the entire time.
Smart’s final showing?
At any opportunity, the optimistic GIA crowd serenaded Marcus Smart with chants of ‘One more year.’ Who knows if he’ll stay? I don’t even think Smart has made the decision yet. But if this was his final collegiate game in Stillwater, Smart went out in style, scoring 21 points, dropping six assists and showing a packed house, once again, why NBA scouts are frothing at the mouth. He made hustle plays, crafty plays, smart plays and nearly every big play when OSU needed to have it. What a season from him.
Unsung hero – Le’Bryan Nash
With much less publicity, Le’Bryan Nash may have also played his final game in Stillwater. Less likely, but still likely. And in it, Nash had one of his better career performances, going an uber-efficent 10/12 shooting for 24 points and five rebounds. He was a physical nightmare for any K-State defender on the low block and, when given the opportunity, he effectively exploited it. Terrific, energized and controlled showing from a player who has received criticism at times for a lack of those characteristics.
Stats of note
-OSU’s 23 wins are tied for the most in the Travis Ford era.
-The Cowboys 13 conference wins are the most since 2004, when they went 14-2.
-Smart and Nash went a combined 17/23 shooting for 45 points.
-Fitting Senior Day line from Phil Jurick: zero points, eight rebounds and four fouls. Played his role.
Markel Brown has 202 career assists at OSU, many of the spectacular variety. Like these two today (h/t Pistols Firing):
Big 12 tourney time. OSU will face Baylor in the 3 v 6 matchup at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday in Kansas City. The Cowboys split the season-series with the Bears.