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Oklahoma State basketball: Cowboys' character comes through in win over West Virginia

After Marcus Smart picked up three fouls, the Cowboys absorbed that initial shock, then recovered to carry a lead to halftime. Then they ran away in the second half, with Smart back doing his thing, and OSU pulling through.
by John Helsley Published: February 24, 2013

“I thought we had some pretty good energy over there, once the first eight minutes passed.”

Even before tip, the game shaped up as a tricky proposition for the Cowboys.

They were coming off that loss to the Jayhawks, ending a seven-game winning streak. And they were tired, to the point that Ford — in a very un-Ford-like move — barely worked them Thursday or Friday, relying heavily instead on video preparation.

It sniffed a bit like the follow-up to the Bedlam football game, when the Cowboys scuffled through a loss at Baylor their next time out.

Except these Cowboys would have none of that, instead creating a scent of satisfaction with a gritty businesslike performance.

“It was definitely a great satisfying victory,” Smart said. “We had a tough loss to KU in double-overtime, a very emotional game.

“I'm pretty sure a lot of people thought we were going to do what Kansas did when we beat them — they went into a slump. Because games like that, hard-fought games, those are definitely heartbreakers. You can lose focus.”

Instead, the Cowboys gain points for toughness, which is always a coveted asset with March creeping closer and closer.

And they stay alive in the chase for conference crown, still needing help, yet still in valid pursuit.