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Oklahoma State basketball: Marcus Smart raises his game a notch

COMMENTARY — OSU's do-it-all sophomore became a scoring machine as the No. 7 Cowboys routed No. 11 Memphis.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 19, 2013

STILLWATER — Kevin Durant walked into Gallagher-Iba Arena and took a front-row seat with about four minutes left in the first half.

Sorry, KD. You missed the show.

A Marcus Smart 3-point swisher off a screen. Three Smart foul shots after he was hacked beyond the arc. Another Smart 3-pointer. Finally, a Smart pullup from way deep.

Twelve points; 71 seconds.

College basketball's greatest playmaker, a sophomore who built his fast-growing legend by doing everything well except score big, went all Keiton Page.

With a shooting display that rivaled Durant at his hottest, Smart took over a college basketball showdown Tuesday night.

Smart scored 24 points in a nine-minute stretch of the first half that put OSU in control, he finished with a career-high 39 and the seventh-ranked Cowboys routed 11th-ranked Memphis 101-80.

But good news for Durant. He might just be able to see the act again.

Maybe this is the new Marcus Smart. Maybe the guy who likes to dish and do dirty work and stuff the stat sheet is prepared to elevate his game in what promises to be quite the Cowboy season.

OSU coach Travis Ford downplayed the idea of a new Smart, the idea that Smart might become a rocket launcher to go with the grit and guile that made him a first-team All-American as a freshman last season.

But the eyewitness testimony said otherwise. Smart has worked hard to improve his outside shot, which could make him virtually unguardable, since he's a bulldog getting to the basket.

“I knew it would happen eventually,” Cowboy Brian Williams said of Smart's explosion. “We knew a breakout game was coming soon. If he's hot like that, we need to get him the ball more.”

And the statistical evidence says so, too. Smart made five of 10 3-pointers. A week earlier, against Utah Valley, a team not quite as potent as Memphis, Smart also launched 10 treys, making four.

Smart last season had 11 games in which he took fewer than 10 shots of any kind. He never had 10 3-point shots in a game. Now twice in four games he's taken 10 3-pointers, and for the season, he's shooting 38.6 percent from beyond the arc.

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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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