Ultimately, however, what Smart was for the Cowboys, Olynyk was even more for the Bulldogs in the second half.
A 7-foot junior, Olynyk turned around a near invisible first half that saw him held scoreless and without a rebound due to foul problems that limited him to six minutes. In the second half, he struck for 21 points and nine rebounds, seven on the offensive end that contributed to Gonzaga's 18-8 edge in second-chance points.
Overall, the Bulldogs out-rebounded OSU 37-21.
“We got destroyed on the glass,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “That is the bottom line. We played a good half-court defense. We played good offense in the second half. We did everything else, we just did not rebound the basketball.
“When it's a one-point game at halftime and you shoot 56 percent (in the second half), you should win.”
And the Cowboys nearly did, before momentum swung Gonzaga's way late.
Le'Bryan Nash committed a costly turnover with his team ahead 63-60, followed by two Olynyk buckets inside, one on a tip and then on a follow of his own miss to send Gonzaga back in front 64-63.
Smart's follow in the lane put OSU in front 65-64, but the Bulldogs' Gary Bell Jr. drilled a 3-pointer from the wing to regain the lead, 67-65, the ninth lead change in a game that also featured eight ties.
Out of a timeout, the Cowboys put the ball in the hands of Smart, who eventually drove on Olynyk, drawing the foul and the two free throws, which both clanked off the rim.
“Hey, that did not cost us the game by any stretch of the imagination,” Ford said. “He made a lot of plays just to get us to that point. That's one play out of a game. And when you're a player of his caliber, you're an All-American, you're going to find yourself in that position. And sometimes it's going to go your way, and sometimes it's not. He's going to be in that situation again.
“He does so many things for our basketball team, that's just a minor blip on the radar. I'm not worried about that whatsoever. He doesn't need to worry about it.
“We'll get 'em next time.”