SAN JOSE, Calif. — Le'Bryan Nash sat shaking his head, pondering the coming days and weeks.
And the reminders certain to come. Oh, the reminders, and not all that went right in this Oklahoma State season.
Oklahoma State saved its worst for last.
While statistics from a few other games may reveal uglier numbers on the key categories — points, rebounds, turnovers, shooting — it's hard to argue the Cowboys were cumulatively worse, at a worse time, than they were Thursday, bounced out of the NCAA Tournament in a 68-55 loss to Oregon at HP Pavilion.
“It's the worst, because we don't get to play no more,” Nash said. “We've got to go home and watch it on TV now. We've got to watch Oregon and all the teams that we played and we beat and we didn't beat.
“That just hurts me a lot, seeing that I can't play any more in my sophomore year. It hurts a lot.”
Hurts, too, to stumble so badly on the big stage, in the program's much-anticipated return to March Madness following a two-year absence.
The Cowboys committed three turnovers before ever attempting a shot and accumulated 10 by halftime, when they trailed 37-26.
They were battered on the boards, 44-32, and allowed the Ducks to turn 14 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points.
And it's not like Oregon caught the Cowboys by surprise.
“We gave them 21 extra possessions in the first half, between our turnovers and extra shots,” said OSU coach Travis Ford. “And those were our two No. 1 keys: No. 1A and 1B.
“At this time of the season, you can't let a team play to their strengths. And we let them do that.”
“They were as physical as we expected, we just didn't come out and match their physicality and intensity,” said Marcus Smart, the Cowboys' captain of toughness. “And that's very disappointing, because this team, we decided to establish our identity as one of the toughest teams in the Big 12 and the country.
“So to say that, that the other team came out and out-(muscled) us, that's embarrassing.”
The Cowboys didn't shoot it well, either, finishing at 40.4 percent from the field. Any hopes at a rally were foiled by a 29.4 percent effort after intermission.
And from the foul line, OSU went 8-for-15, with three misses coming on the front end of 1-and-1 opportunities.
“It felt like everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” Smart said. “And you can't have games like that, especially at this time, in the NCAA Tournament. You're supposed to get those games out of the way.
“And unfortunately, we had one of those games tonight.”
Markel Brown led the Cowboys with 16 points in defeat. Smart added 14, but struggled shooting, making just 5 of 13 field-goal tries and 4 of 8 free throws.
Damyean Dotson led the Ducks with 17 points and Arsalan Kazemi grabbed 17 rebounds, keying Oregon's domination on the boards.
The Cowboys never posed a serious threat in the second half, failing to cut the lead to single digits at any time.
OSU's season ends at 24-9, with highlights for sure, yet a final lowlight that won't be easy to shake.
“It's extremely tough,” said Cowboys forward Michael Cobbins. “We had a great team here. We had a great season. And we all wanted to continue going on this journey and making the best of it. So it's extremely tough getting cut short like this.
“But this is just fuel for next year.”