Nash's 29 leads No. 11 Oklahoma State past WVU
College Football Videos
STILLWATER, Okla. — Marcus Smart had one of the worst games of his career, yet Oklahoma State still found a way to win.
Le'Bryan Nash scored a career-high 29 points and had nine rebounds to help the 11th-ranked Cowboys beat West Virginia, 81-75, on Saturday.
Smart, a sophomore guard who entered the game as the Big 12's leading scorer, finished with a season-low five points on 1-for-7 shooting and played just 25 minutes before fouling out. West Virginia's game plan was to bring the contact to Smart.
“He likes to be physical, so you have to be physical back,” West Virginia guard Juwan Staten said. “Try to get in his head a little bit, try to get him to commit some fouls he doesn't want to commit, try to get him in foul trouble. That's what we did.”
Smart was visibly upset throughout the game and spent much of his playing time picking himself up off the ground.
“I think he did get a little frustrated, and I'm anxious to see if it was justified,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said.
Nash, a 6-foot-7 wing, picked up the slack. He was 10 of 13 from the field for the Cowboys (16-3, 4-2 Big 12), who swept the season series with the Mountaineers.
“It's just my teammates getting me shots in the right place,” he said. “I'm right under the basket, and when they dump it off, I'm going up strong. That's what it is.”
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said Nash's outburst was no surprise.
“I saw him in high school, and I knew how good he was,” Huggins said. “He's been terrific all year. I think he's probably the hardest guard in our league. He can bounce it. If you let him catch it inside of 15 feet, he's got a great chance to score.”
Markel Brown had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Phil Forte added 13 points for Oklahoma State, which now can focus on a showdown at No. 25 Oklahoma on Monday.
“It's Bedlam,” Nash said. “It don't get no better than this. It's two good teams. We're going into their house. We really want to win. We've got to give it to Oklahoma. They've got some good wins, and it's going to be tough.”
Eron Harris scored 21 points, and Staten added 19 for the Mountaineers (11-9, 3-4), who have lost four of five.
There were 56 fouls, 66 free throws and six players fouled out. Oklahoma State made just 4 of 24 3-point attempts and was outrebounded 41-35 but held the Mountaineers to 37 percent shooting.
Smart scored his first points on two free throws with 10:42 left in the first half.
West Virginia led 25-18 in the first half when Smart picked up his second foul, but Oklahoma State rallied without him. A three-point play by Nash sparked a run, and the Cowboys tied the game 26-26 on two free throws by Brown with 6:15 left in the first half. Another three-point play by Nash gave Oklahoma State the lead with 3:45 left in the first half.
The Cowboys finished the half with a flurry. Brown threw down a monster two-handed putback dunk with 18 seconds left. Forte then stole the ball and, while lying on the ground under pressure, found Nash under the basket for a thunderous reverse jam to give the Cowboys a 42-35 lead. Nash had 18 points and seven rebounds in the first half.
Harris picked up his fourth foul with just over 15 minutes remaining and West Virginia leading 46-44.
Brown's near 360-degree dunk ignited the crowd and tied the score with just less than 14 minutes remaining.
“I have a great set of athletic ability, and it would be a shame to waste it and not do something for the crowd,” he said. “I feel like they come to the game to see things like that, so I had to give it to them. It's a great sparkplug to this team.”
Smart found Nash with a behind-the-head pass for a basket and a foul, and Nash's free throw gave Oklahoma State a 66-60 lead with 7:11 to play.
Harris made a 3-pointer to cut Oklahoma State's lead to 70-67, but on OSU's next possession, Brown attacked the rim and scored while drawing Harris' fifth foul with 3:35 to go. A three-point play by Brian Williams with 2:01 remaining gave the Cowboys a 75-67 lead.
Nash fouled out with 1:40 to go, and West Virginia rallied one last time. The Mountaineers could have tied the game in the final minute, but Nathan Adrian missed a 3-pointer. Forte made 6 of 6 free throws in the final 37 seconds to seal the win for the Cowboys.
West Virginia felt it missed an opportunity with Smart out of the lineup so much.
“We knew that if we could get him in foul trouble in the first half and slow him down that we'd have a pretty good chance of winning this game,” Staten said. “We executed our plan. There were just a couple key moments that we didn't really execute on that cost us.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins’ protracted slump continues with 5-2 loss at Carolina
- Police end standoff with New Kensington man
- Pittsburgh angles to keep Heinz headquarters in merger
- Trib Cup: North Allegheny, Blackhawk, Seton-La Salle, Vincentian lead winter standings
- New Kensington-Arnold School Board superintendent hangs on as board vote falls short
- Geibel softball excited for return after 4-year hiatus
- Connellsville-area group shares photos, stories, legacy
- Harrison rape suspect awaiting trial accused of sexual contact with 6-year-old
- Kiski Area Intermediate School band chosen to play at state conference
- Cops nab Donora assault suspect
- Narduzzi set to begin more critical evaluations during Pitt football spring drills