While Oklahoma State dominated almost throughout on Tuesday against Harvard, there was a moment in the second half when the Crimson had quieted Gallagher-Iba Arena and threatened to make things interesting.
A 12-2 run allowed Harvard to cut OSU's once 18-point lead to single digits, 47-39, with 13:32 to play. But Markel Brown answered with a driving tomahawk slam that awakened the arena and the Cowboys. Pretty soon, the Cowboys were back up big and well on their way to the 71-54 win.
“I don't know what I can say about it that “SportsCenter” won't,” said OSU forward Marshall Moses.
Harvard coach Tommy Amaker called it critical.
“I thought that dunk that kid had going down the lane there was just a big momentum play,” Amaker said. “It certainly zapped our momentum and transferred it back to their team and got the crowd energized.
“That basket in particular was a dagger for us.”
UP NEXT: TBD
The No. 3-seed Cowboys await the winner of Wednesday night's Washington State-Long Beach State game to learn who, where and when they'll play next.
The higher seeded team hosts games before the NIT's Final Four in New York City.
The Cowboys will travel to Pullman, Wash., if the No. 2-seed Cougars win, or host again if Long Beach manages the upset.
OSU won't practice today, but will gather to watch the game and surely root on Long Beach.
“Most definitely,” said sophomore guard Reger Dowell.
Tuesday's win pushed OSU's record to 20-13, running the program's streak of reaching 20 wins to three — each of Travis Ford's three seasons as coach.
“Everything we've been through this year, to win 20,” Ford said, “and going into this game we had a strength of schedule of 35, and I'm sure it even got better after tonight — that's pretty good. So I'm proud of this team.”
Harvard played a strong schedule, beating Colorado and winning at Boston College, mixed among road losses at George Mason, Michigan and UConn.
Amaker found plenty to like about the Cowboys.
“They played with a great deal of intensity,” Amaker said. “They're tough around the post area. I was very impressed with the quickness and the speed. It certainly knocked us back on our heels right away, how quickly they could get up and down the floor.
“Without a doubt, their guys up front, Moses and (Matt) Pilgrim, they're strong. They're veterans. They're senior players and they played like it.”
In the Big 12 Tournament, OSU used strong defense to nearly upset No. 2-ranked Kansas.
The Cowboys were back at it against Harvard, never allowing the Crimson to get on track. Harvard shot just 40 percent from the floor and was blocked off the boards, scoring but two second-chance points.
“If you can play good D and defend what I believe is the best team in America,” Moses said in reference to the Jayhawks, “then you should be able to go out and do it every night against everybody.”