WACO, Texas — Athletes talk a lot about getting everyone on the same page.
On a Big Monday at Baylor, Oklahoma State could have used more prominent roles by certain someones — reliable someones — on the significant page: the box score.
Just as Le'Bryan Nash attacked and scored in a way the Cowboys have been wishing for, finishing with a season-high 24 points, the Cowboys' usually consistent cast of characters went missing in a 64-54 loss at the Ferrell Center.
Leading scorer Markel Brown made just 1-of-10 shots from the floor and contributed but two points, one fewer than his three turnovers.
Designated shooter Phil Forte made but 2-of-9 shots from the floor — and none of his six 3-pointers — for four points in 30 minutes.
Marcus Smart provided his usual all-around stat pack, with 12 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals, yet even then, OSU's two-man matchup wasn't near enough.
“We got what we wanted to get,” Smart said. “We just fumbled a couple balls, missed some easy layups that we usually finish. That's kind of what it was.
“Give (Baylor) credit, they played their defense well. But our offense just wasn't to the standard it usually is.”
The standard has typically featured Brown, who entered Monday on a 12-game run of double-digit scoring performances. He'd either led the Cowboys, or tied for team-high scoring honors seven times, including Saturday, when he poured in 21 points in OSU's rout of Texas Tech.
That was the same day Forte struck for 19, his ninth double-digit scoring game in what has been a fine start to his freshman season.
Against the Bears, neither could ignite, combining for 10 of OSU's 14 missed 3-pointers on a day when the Cowboys shot just 34.9 percent overall (22-of-63) and 12.5 percent (2-of-16) from the arc.
“Happens,” OSU coach Travis Ford said through gritted teeth.
Doesn't happen very often for Brown or Forte, who have been reliable scoring options, even guys to count on in times of need.
Just not Monday, when the Cowboys again failed to snap an expanding trend of losing on the road, falling to 1-21 over their last 22 Big 12 road trips. Overall this season, they're 12-5 overall, 2-3 in the conference.
“It's definitely uncharacteristic,” Smart said of his teammates' struggles. “Phil, he's a great shooter. Markel is a great shooter. Just wasn't their night tonight.
“They couldn't find a rhythm. Just one of those nights for us.”
Away from home, it was like a lot of nights for the Cowboys. If it's not one thing, it's another.
With Nash firing, playing strong and with a sustained passion not always apparent, OSU should have been set up to make a serious charge at ending its road drought. Smart did his part, too, but with Brown and Forte misfiring, and Baylor getting help up and down its lineup, the Cowboys again were left short.
Bears big men Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson controlled the paint, combining for 21 points, 25 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
Pierre Jackson shook off a cold start to score a team-high 18 points, including eight straight during a key stretch early in the second half when Baylor extended its lead to 10, 45-35, after the Cowboys had taken a 28-27 lead to the half.
“They had their top three players, top three scorers, do what they normally do,” Ford said. “Give them credit.”
Despite their shooting struggles, the Cowboys battled throughout the second half, pulling as close as six, 53-47, with 4:38 remaining on Nash's driving layup.
“I hit some shots,” said Nash, who finished 10-of-19 from the floor. “I could have made more. Some shots weren't falling for my teammates. But they got me the ball in good situations and I hit some shots.”
Baylor extended the lead again from there, however, getting a dunk from Jefferson and another 3-pointer from Jackson, to boost the margin to 11.
“At no point did we get on a roll offensively to give us that kick,” Ford said. “We did a lot of good things. We just didn't finish. We didn't finish on either end.”