STILLWATER — Marcus Smart didn’t start so hot.
Missed shots. Airballed a free throw. A free throw.
And his disgust clearly showed.
But not for long.
Smart turned it around by turning it on, sparking a surge late in the first half to rally the No. 11-ranked Cowboys into the lead against Texas, then continuing to deliver in the second half, finishing off a staggering stat line: 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, six steals and a blocked shot.
Playing like the star he is as the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year and a candidate for national honors this season, Smart impacted the game in every way to lead an 87-74 win before an estimated 8,000 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“The last couple of days, we've spent a lot of time together talking about what I expect and what he's capable of doing for this basketball team,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “I thought he gave an incredible Marcus Smart performance tonight.
“You look at the stat line. The stat line is ridiculous.”
Markel Brown added 27 points and Phil Forte 14, involving some timely 3-pointers. And Kamari Murphy battled UT's big bodies inside, matching the nation's No. 7 shot-blocking team by himself with four blocks.
The cumulative effort was needed for a team still adjusting to the loss of big man Michael Cobbins and still in rally mode after a Big 12-opening loss at Kansas State on Saturday.
But there was a call, too, for Smart to do his thing.
“I thought his effort was off the chart tonight,” Ford said. “He had great intention of affecting the game in a lot of different ways, which was good to see.”
OSU improved to 13-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12.
The Longhorns fell to 11-4 and 0-2.
Smart didn't have a basket until the 1:05 mark of the first half, although he was getting to the foul line 12 times, making nine. The air-ball attempt, however, with 3:25 remaining, revealed a sneer from Smart.
And some snarl, with Texas in front 34-27.
Smart made the second foul shot, then two more, along with a short jumper as the Cowboys closed the half on an 11-3 spurt to a 38-37 halftime lead. And he never relented.
“I didn't have my legs under me all the way,” Smart said of missing everything. “I just wasn't feeling it.
“I told myself when I released it, I knew it was an airball. I didn't get on my toes.”
Eventually, it was something to chuckle about.
“After the fact, we were laughing at him and joking around with him (about the airball),” Brown said. “It did spark him for the rest of the game.
“Maybe we need him to shoot airballs more.”
Longhorns forward Jonathan Holmes scored on a lay-in to open the second half, before OSU went on a 13-2 run to seize a lead they wouldn't surrender.