A couple weeks ago, Cowboys freshman Le'Bryan Nash put the chances of his return to OSU at “70” percent.
Now make that 100 percent.
Nash said his likely return became concrete when he suffered a fracture in his left hand late in the season at Oklahoma, forcing him to miss the last four games, including Wednesday night's 76-60 win over Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament.
But more than that, he said he's better off in school.
“It's not because of the cast,” Nash said. “It's just because I'd be better in school than in the NBA. I didn't have a great year to go to the NBA, so I think I should come back and get better on my game, get better in school and help Oklahoma State win a championship.”
Nash said he will remain in the cast for three more weeks, then rehab for a month.
“I'll probably still have a basketball in my hand during rehab,” Nash said. “I'll try to work on my shooting. (In the meantime) I'm going to sit back and watch basketball, learn a lot of new things about my teammates, learn what they like to do.”
Nash averaged 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in 28 games.
“I learned a lot this year, how to play defense and get better with my teammates,” Nash said. “In high school, I had to shoot the ball a lot and do a lot of stuff. This is D-I. Anyone on this team can play. I learned a lot, that team chemistry can get you a long way. It's going to be big for us to win big next year.”
The Cowboys move into Thursday's quarterfinal round to face No. 2-seed and No. 7-ranked Missouri.
Tip time is 6 p.m. at Sprint Center.
OSU and Mizzou split their regular season meetings, with the Cowboys upsetting the Tigers 79-72 in Stillwater, before losing 83-65 in Columbia.
“Gotta stay focused,” said senior Keiton Page. “A win's good for now, but we have to get our mind on Missouri now. We know how tough a team they are.”
SAGER ON (SCORE)BOARD
Pressed into duty due to injuries, freshman guard Christien Sager scored his first career basket Wednesday night.
“We were going back on defense, so I had to hide (my feelings), but I was so happy I finally got a basket,” said Sager, who came to OSU as a walk-on before coach Travis Ford awarded him a one-year scholarship. “It meant so much getting a basket and playing significant minutes in a win.”
Playing a career-high 17 minutes, Sager took a charging foul on the ensuing defensive possession.
“I didn't want my basket to be the highlight of the night,” Sager said, smiling.
The Cowboys dominated throughout much of Wednesday's game, yet found themselves behind 36-35 briefly due to an extended dry spell.
That's when they felt the season flash before their eyes.
“When they took the lead, I was thinking, ‘If we lose, this is it,'” said Brian Williams. “We're just trying to win as many as possible and make a run into some kind of tournament.”