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Oklahoma State basketball: Cowboys own backcourt matchup

by Berry Tramel and John Helsley Published: November 19, 2013

Entering Tuesday night's showdown between No. 7 OSU and No. 11 Memphis, the game shaped up as a battle of two of the nation's top backcourts.

One ranking had the Tigers' guards at No. 1 as a group, the Cowboys No. 3.

The Cowboys won the matchup — and the game — decisively.

Marcus Smart outscored the Tigers' touted four seniors — Joe Jackson, Michael Dixon, Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford — by himself, with 39 points. Markel Brown added 20 more and Stevie Clark nine. And the Cowboys were essentially without Phil Forte, who played just four minutes due to a stomach bug.

“Just because everybody says they're the top-ranked backcourt in the country, we weren't going to stop playing our game,” Smart said. “We wanted to show everybody that we're not backing down.

“They have some talented guys. Joe Jackson, Dixon — all of those guys are phenomenal guys, NBA prospect-type guys. They can really get down and play. But as a competitor, that's always going to motivate you.”

Memphis' four premium guards combined to go 8 of 34 from the field, 0 of 8 from the arc. Dixon and Johnson each shot 1-for-10 from the floor.

“I've been saying it for a long time now,” said Memphis coach Josh Pastner, “I believe for our team to be great — which I believe we can be great — all four senior guards I expect to be great. Tonight, I didn't see that coming, how they played.

“I didn't see that coming that they were all going to play … not good.”


Smart made a second-half 3-pointer to give OSU a 64-43 lead, then looked over at the lanky fellow sitting courtside. Kevin Durant.

No, Smart said, he wasn't issuing a challenge to the NBA superstar. “I just wanted to see him enjoying the show,” Smart said.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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