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OSU's Le'Bryan Nash waits until Bedlam to put on his best show

The Cowboys have been searching for offensive life. They received that Monday night as Nash scores 21 points in victory over Oklahoma.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 9, 2012

STILLWATER — Keiton Page poked fun at Le'Bryan Nash the other day.

The topic?

Nash's athleticism.

Yep, the most earthbound college basketball player around was giving grief to one of the most athletic players in the country.

“Coach, didn't Le'Bryan win the McDonald's dunk contest?” Page joked with Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford. “How'd that happen?”

Sometimes, you have to wonder.

But not Monday night.

Nash showed that athleticism in a 72-65 victory over Oklahoma. He drove to the basket. He beat defenders off the dribble. He crashed the boards. He created for teammates.

As a result, Nash had the best all-around game of his Cowboy career, and a team searching for offensive life got a surge.

He tied a career high with 21 points, but he had eight rebounds and three assists with only three turnovers.

“I liked his gears,” Ford said. “I like the fact that he decided to turn it up a couple times.

“We tell him all the time, ‘Show your athleticism.'”

Maybe that message is starting to sink in.

Nash was clearly the most athletic guy on the Gallagher-Iba Arena court on Monday night. Truth is, he's probably that guy most nights the Cowboys take to the floor. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound freshman has a rare combination of strength, leaping ability and agility.

But you wouldn't always know it.

It wasn't all that many days ago that Nash had back-to-back four-point games. One came against Virginia Tech, but the other was against SMU.

Four points against SMU?

That doesn't exactly sound like a guy who most folks said could've gone to the NBA out of high school if the association allowed such things.

Ford admitted some of the blame for Nash's erratic play this season goes to the coaches. They thought he would be their low-post scorer.

The role didn't suit him.

Now on the perimeter, Nash looks more comfortable. Still, the preps-to-college transition hasn't been as easy as everyone thought it would be for him, so the adjustment period continues.

“I'm being more aggressive,” Nash said. “I know I'm a good scorer, so I just try to help this team out how I can.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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