OSU tops Texas, wins fifth straight
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2/10/13 at 8:11 AM
Related Story: OSU basketball notebook: Winning on the road
AUSTIN, Texas - Marcus Smart felt comfortable Saturday at the Erwin Center.
It was, after all, the site of his Class 5A state championships as a Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus junior and senior.
Walking toward the court with high school teammate and fellow Oklahoma State freshman Phil Forte, "That's all we could think about - making that walk down the tunnel to come out of the locker room. It was very emotional for us."
On Saturday, the Erwin Center was where Smart propelled the 22nd-ranked Cowboys to a fifth straight win. In the 72-59 victory over struggling Texas, he had another impressive performance: 23 points, seven rebounds, five steals, three assists and two blocks.
"I had a great feel for this gym," he said of his sixth game there in four years. "It felt good coming back."
In his return, OSU won a second straight Big 12 road game, something that hadn't happened since Smart was a high school freshman (2009). He was in the fourth grade the last time the Cowboys recorded a victory in Austin (2004).
"We want people to talk about us, so we're just playing as hard as we can," Le'Bryan Nash said. "... It was a good win on the road. We respect Texas so much, and getting a win here is a big thing."
Despite 11 turnovers in an ugly first half, the Cowboys led 29-22 at intermission and emerged from the locker room a seemingly refocused team.
"We told ourselves we've got to make a run before they make one at us," Markel Brown said. "They were on their home court and we knew they were capable of scoring at any moment, so we had to go out there and kind of step on the pedal a little bit."
Seven minutes into the half, a 3-pointer from Smart gave OSU (17-5, 7-3 Big 12) a double-digit cushion the remainder of the game.
A 10-2 run followed, and when Brian Williams scored seven points in 35 seconds, disgruntled Longhorn fans headed for the exits, their team down 60-41.
After three straight games in which the Cowboys won in the final minute, they were able to breathe easy down the stretch.
"We've been in some mentally draining games as well as physically," coach Travis Ford said. "We had a lot of guys playing 40-plus minutes on this past Wednesday night.
"We were a little concerned about that, but we did some things the last couple of days to try to get our guys' minds off those other games."
Among the team-bonding activities was a game of wiffleball Thursday.
"We had some guys who had no clue even how to hold a bat," Ford said. "I'm not kidding. They had no idea."
In addition to Smart's 23 points, Brown scored 17 and Nash had 14.
Texas (10-13, 2-8) was led by Ioannis Papapetrou's 15 points in the final game without Myck Kabongo, whose 23-game NCAA suspension ended Saturday.
"They're going through a lot of what we went through last year," Ford said. "... It's hard to get much rhythm, a lot of flow with a lot of things going on that are out of your control."
At Texas Tech
6 p.m. Wednesday
Radio: KFAQ am1170
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
OSU's Marcus Smart dunks over Texas' Javan Felix during the second half Saturday. ERIC GAY / Associated Press