Sophomore Marcus Smart endured one of the worst days of his career Saturday.
And one of his most trying, as the Cowboys star even left the court briefly at one point — perhaps in a self-imposed timeout — as his frustration boiled over in OSU's 81-75 win against West Virginia at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Smart was mired in foul trouble throughout, was limited to 25 minutes and finished with four points on 1-of-7 shooting in a physical game that found him frequently on the floor and taking body blows from the Mountaineers.
Late in the game, he emotionally walked past the OSU bench and out of sight behind the bleachers.
“When you're a top player like that, you'll get frustrated when stuff doesn't go your way,” said teammate Le'Bryan Nash. “I get frustrated a lot of times when stuff doesn't go my way. We try to help him out, but I feel like he was getting beat up. Every time he went to the hole, he was getting some calls that weren't going his way.
“It's frustration. That's being a college player, and I can't say anything bad about it because I do the same thing.”
Later Saturday night, Smart issued an apology to his teammates, via Twitter.
“Today wasn't one of my most proudest moments. I lost my composure and left my team hanging. It won't happen again and I apologize to my team… my bad fellas, good win,” he tweeted.
FIRST-HALF RUN FUELED WIN
The Cowboys were struggling on offense, trailing 25-17 at one point in the first half.
Then they closed the period on a 16-5 run, punctuated in the final seconds by a follow-slam by Markel Brown and another dunk by Nash that made it 42-35 at the break. Reserves Phil Forte and Stevie Clark also provided big plays during the spurt, particularly on the defensive end with steals.
“I tell you, the last five minutes of the first half were the difference in the game,” OSU coach Travis Ford said of the momentum-shifting surge. “Stevie Clark and Phil Forte just gave us incredible energy, made hustle plays there at the end of the first half and really gave us a boost.