“He didn't play too well in the first half,” Ford said. “We weren't getting him in position where he likes to get the ball a lot. In the second half, he got the ball in some areas with some mismatches. And I know when LB's rolling, and you get a feel. We ran a lot of stuff for him to get the ball.”
As Baylor did for Jackson. Nash missed all four of his first-half shots. Jackson missed nine of his 11 first-half shots. But basketball is a two-half game.
Jackson, feeling a variety of emotions, warmed up down the stretch. He was overlooked for all-Big 12 first team, despite leading the league in scoring and assists. And Jackson also felt the reality that his collegiate career is about to end, possibly without an NCAA Tournament bid on Sunday.
And Jackson played like a desperate, offended soul. Until Jackson's desperation miss at the end, Baylor had scored on 14 straight possessions. Jackson provided the points on eight of those. That's 16 points in the final 6:30; Jackson finished with 31.
Kansas knows what it's like to feel Jackson's wrath. He had 28 points and 10 assists on 11-of-13 shooting last Saturday in Baylor's 81-58 rout of the Jayhawks.
“I haven't seen a better team in the country than the way they played Kansas,” Ford said. “They're a heck of a team.”
But a team that's not going to the NCAA Tournament. OSU is, with a hot team and a hot player. Nash has averaged 18.3 points the last eight games. He's not the superstar some hoped for when Ford signed Nash out of Dallas, but he's become indispensable for the Cowboys.
This is how teams go deep into March Madness. Great players, like Marcus Smart, is a good place to start. But good players, like Le'Bryan Nash, must raise their games. And miracle shots by determined opponents, like Pierre Jackson, have to bounce off the rim.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.