STILLWATER — Le'Bryan Nash, for all the funkiness in this freshman season, said he's still more than comfortable taking the big shot, the game-winning shot.
“I live for those moments, the big moments,” Nash said.
But a game-winning blocked shot?
Credit Nash with two game-winners — a step-back 15-footer, then a swat at the buzzer — in the final big moments Tuesday night in Oklahoma State's 69-67 win over Iowa State inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
In a game that featured eight ties and nine lead changes, the outcome essentially came down to the final few seconds.
After Iowa State's Royce White sank two free throws to make it 67-67 with :39.3 remaining, Cowboys coach Travis Ford called a timeout to set up OSU's next offensive sequence.
The goal: run clock and get Nash a shot.
Markel Brown dribbled near midcourt until the clock clicked under 10 seconds, then fed Nash, who worked across the lane, then bounced back and drilled the shot over Chris Allen with :04.7 remaining.
“Coach (Ford) drew up the play, whoever got the ball at the top of the key, I set the screen and pick-and-pop,” Nash said. “He gave me the ball in a good situation and I had a little small guy on me, so I rose up and made the shot.”
It was the same matchup at the other end seconds later, reversed.
And again, Nash prevailed.
Allen, who led all scorers with 22 points and had hit five of his six 3-pointers in the second half, took an inbounds pass near his own basket and raced up the floor, finally dribbling across the lane and lifting up a left-handed shot, which Nash rejected into the student section.
“It felt good because I think Coach thinks I am the weakest link on defense,” said Nash, who matched his career-high with two blocks against the Cyclones. “I go back to the locker room and say, ‘What now?'
“I made a good defensive play. It was good to rub it in his face. It was good to get the win. That's what I wanted the most was to get the win. I try to do what I can on defense to show how good I can be on defense.”
Nash scored 14 of his 18 points in the opening 20 minutes and hadn't scored since the 15:00 mark of the second half.