March 2, 2013

Pokes hustle past the Longhorns 78-65 to complete sweep

It was a sloppy start for the Pokes, but they ultimately prevailed to beat the Texas Longhorns 78-65, completing the season-sweep of UT for the first time since 2004.

The big three for Oklahoma State was on full display, as Marcus Smart, Le'Bryan Nash and Markel Brown combined for 45 points to fuel the win.

But it wasn't clean cut, and OSU showed their true colors by pulling together and handling diversity.

The game started brutal for both teams, as Smart and UT guard Myck Kabongo had five turnovers each in the first half. But just as they do time and time again, the Pokes simply hung around and took over the second half.

They outscored the Horns 41-34 in the second term, but it wasn't even really as close as the score makes it seem. Brian Williams went on a 9-2 run by himself, scoring all of his points in the game during that spurt, while the rest of the bench stepped their game up as well, contributing 15 points and a ton of game-changing performances.

Let's get into a few thoughts.

Brown's dunk was easily the most impressive play of the game. A two-handed windmill dunk from the left side of his body, and he looked as if he would've hit his head on the rafters if the rim hadn't slowed him down. Then, he drove the baseline in the second half, was fouled, and hit a floater over the backboard to complete the and-one play. He also had a nice drive through the lane, knifing his way through the Longhorn defense. Some people throw around the nickname "Human Highlight Reel" lightly, but with him it's dead-on.

You had to love Nash's game today. He didn't settle for the mid-range shots that he usually does, he just put his head down and went. He seems to be coming on strong down the stretch, and if he keeps it up at this pace, this team will be a headliner in the NCAA tournament.

The corrections that Smart made were just as impressive as anything. He seemed to be excited coming out, trying to force the ball a bit, but once he settled down he played great and did exactly what his team needed him to do.

Has Phil Forte found his stroke? He was 3/17 on three-pointers in the last three games, but today he made 4-7. If he can start hitting consistently again, watch out.

Travis Ford was mentioned as a major candidate for the Coach of the Year Award on the telecast. Did any of you see that coming a few months ago?

Phil Jurick and Kirby Gardner played great today. They're players that don't necessarily fit into every game, but they had a chance today and made it count. Jurick had 2 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks, and was a presence down low the entire game. Gardner didn't do anything major on the stat sheet, but his hustle and effort was great today.

Speaking of Brown's dunk he ranked it as his best dunk he's ever done in a game. I agree.

Oklahoma State visits Iowa State on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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