No. 13 Oklahoma State edges No. 9 K-State 76-70

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm •  Published: March 9, 2013
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STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Coach Travis Ford can't be certain whether NBA prospect Marcus Smart has played his last home game at Oklahoma State.

If he did, he went out with one of his typical beyond-the-box-score plays, changing the game and the Big 12 championship picture.

Smart scored 21 points, but perhaps none of his plays were as big as the charging foul he drew that turned the momentum as the 13th-ranked Cowboys beat No. 9 Kansas State 76-70 on Saturday.

After officials had stopped the game to review a Smart jump shot and rule that it was not a 3-pointer but a 2, he got between Angel Rodriguez and the sideline and drew the foul as Rodriguez tried to catch an inbound pass.

Smart ended up with six points — plus drawing Rodriguez's foul — during the decisive 14-1 run for the Cowboys (23-7, 13-5 Big 12).

"The momentum changed for us, and we opened the game up," Smart said.

Smart's heady play came as no surprise to Ford, who has seen his freshman point guard develop into a Big 12 player of the year candidate without needing to be his team's leading scorer.

"He is going to be in the middle of the action and more times than not, he's going to make a positive play. ... That's just his game," Ford said. "That's just his nature. That's the way he plays."

Le'Bryan Nash contributed 24 points and Markel Brown scored 16, including seven free throws in the final 2 minutes for Oklahoma State.

The Wildcats (25-6, 14-4), who came into the day tied with rival Kansas for the conference lead, still ended up sharing their first regular-season conference title since 1977 in the Big Eight when the fourth-ranked Jayhawks lost at Baylor later Saturday.

K-State led by as much as nine in the second half and was up 61-57 following Rodney McGruder's three-point play with 4:45 remaining. The Cowboys didn't allow another field goal for more than 4 minutes and hit 13 straight free throws during crunch time to come away with the win.

It was 61-59 when Smart drew the charge, then got fouled by Thomas Gipson on a 3-point attempt and hit two free throws to tie it. Nash followed with a driving layup to put the Cowboys ahead to stay at 63-61 with 2:47 remaining.

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber called Rodriguez's charge the "big, changing play" of the game.

"I bet if you went and watched it, it wasn't an offensive foul. So, that changed the game, the momentum a lot," Weber said. "But then they made plays and we didn't."

McGruder led the Wildcats with 22 points. He had a big game when the teams met in the Big 12 opener, scoring 28 points and making all five of his 3-point attempts to lead K-State to a victory. He couldn't match that this time, connecting on only six of his 15 shots.