Oklahoma State takes No. 6 N.C. State to win Puerto Rico Tip-Off
BY Staff Reports
Monday, November 19, 2012
11/19/12 at 5:40 AM
BAYAMON, Puerto Rico - Oklahoma State had only seven scholarship players available Sunday against No. 6 North Carolina State.
Seven was more than enough, as the Cowboys breezed past the Wolfpack 76-56 to win the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
"We keep telling them, whoever laces their shoes up is who's going to play," coach Travis Ford said on postgame radio. "The effort they put out these three games was exciting to watch."
Freshman Marcus Smart was named MVP of the tournament and was joined on the all-tournament team by Le'Bryan Nash. On Sunday, the McDonald's All-Americans combined for 43 points.
The 20-point win is the largest margin of victory in the championship game in the six-year tournament.
Smart, who scored 18 of his 23 points in the first half, also had seven rebounds, seven assists, four steals and four blocks.
Against the preseason ACC favorite, OSU (4-0) went on an 8-2 run early as Smart got hot, hitting three straight baskets. He entered the game having made only one 3-pointer in three games but had three against N.C. State.
"When he starts making shots, I think everybody else feeds off it and they get excited," Ford said. "He's just the ultimate competitor."
A steal by Smart led to a fast break in which he dished to Markel Brown and then tipped in a mistimed lob on an athletic play that gave the Cowboys a 31-22 cushion.
"You could tell when we first scored, they didn't have a feeling of intensity by the looks on their faces," Smart said. "They have a lot of great players, and we just knew we were going to have to come out, be ready and play hard.
"I could feel it. I could sense I was hot, and my teammates got me the ball and it got us going."
A 10-point halftime lead grew in the second half. North Carolina State's C.J. Leslie, the ACC's preseason player of the year, picked up his fourth foul with 17 minutes left and because of his reaction was given a technical that fouled him out.
Phil Forte hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch that kept the Wolfpack at bay, and the advantage stretched to 68-48 with six minutes left on a three-point play from Nash.
Defensively, OSU clamped down, holding N.C. State (3-1) well below its average of 87.7 points per game.
"I had a saying on our chalkboard before we came out for the game - make N.C. State uncomfortable," Ford said. "... I thought we did a great job of doing that."
The Cowboys played without Jéan-Paul Olukemi, who was hurt Thursday against Akron, and Marek SouÄek, who was hurt Friday against Tennessee, as well as previously injured Michael Cobbins and Brian Williams.
But big performances from newcomers Smart, Forte and Kamari Murphy paired with an increased effort from Nash to give OSU its first regular-season tournament championship since the team won the Las Vegas Invitational three years ago.
"We're playing like we've been playing together for a long time," Nash said. " ... We're on a roll right now, and we're taking advantage of it."
Original Print Headline: Cowboys stun No. 6 Wolfpack
Oklahoma State's players celebrate after defeating North Carolina State on Sunday to win the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament in San Juan. RICARDO ARDUENGO / Associated Press