March 9, 2013
OSU holds off Kansas State 76-70 to lock up the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament
The Pokes weren't able to grab a piece of the Big 12 Championship after losing to Iowa State earlier this week, but they were able to spoil the party for the purple-wearing Wildcats from just up I-35.
In a top 15 matchup, the No. 13 Cowboys (23-7, 13-5 Big 12) knocked off No. 9 Kansas State 76-70 in front of a sold-out Gallagher-Iba crowd today, and it was due in large part to an efficient scoring outburst from OSU studs Le'Bryan Nash and Marcus Smart.
Nash dropped 24 points in the win on an unbelievable 10/12 shooting, and added 4 made free throws on 5 attempts for good measure. We'll get into his performance more later, but it was fatal to Kansas State not only because he performed so well, but also because they had to focus on Smart, too.
The freshman dropped 21 points on 7/11 shooting, and also contributed 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Those two steals brought his season total to 89, and tied him for the most steals in Big 12 history by a freshman with former Kansas guard Mario Chalmers.
Let's dissect it a bit more.
This win locked up the No. 3 seed for Oklahoma State. They'll play Baylor on Thursday in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament at 8:30 in Kansas City.
That might have been Smart's last game in Gallagher-Iba, and it was a memorable one. The freshman is projected to be a top 5 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, but hasn't made a decision on what his future will hold. There's a better chance of him going pro than there is of him staying, but there's a chance at either one.
When Ford calls for the isolation for Nash, it's almost unstoppable. It hasn't been used much this season, but it's started to pick up late. His first step is severely underrated, and that leads to him getting into the meat of the defense like he did today against KSU.
This was OSU's 23rd win, which ties them for the most under coach Travis Ford since he was hired. They have at least two games left this season to try and build on that.
This was a solid senior day for Philip Jurick. He didn't score any points, but he grabbed 8 rebounds and dropped a dime pass to Smart on a backdoor play in the first half. The guy battled back from a bad Achilles injury last season, and has really contributed to the team in a lot of ways, both on the stat sheet and off of it.
Speaking of Jurick, he was the only Oklahoma State player who had more than 2 fouls today. They played smart basketball today, and didn't force Ford to try and create some lineups and chemistry due to foul trouble. If that becomes a theme, it will only help them in the upcoming tournaments.
It's been interesting to watch how Ford rolls lineups out inside of 8 minutes left in the game. With Brian Williams starting to really figure it out after missing the first half of the season with a wrist injury, Ford has started to give him a lot of time inside of that mark with Phil Forte. It's obvious that Ford likes both of them on the floor, even though they aren't starters, and it's such a diverse lineup that it works against just about any team.
As previously stated, Oklahoma State plays Baylor to start the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Kansas City.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial