Cowboys edge OU in overtime, 84-79
BY KELLY HINES World Staff Writer
Saturday, February 16, 2013
2/17/13 at 2:45 AM
STILLWATER – Michael Cobbins came up a big block against Oklahoma forward Romero Osby in the second half, then wagged his index finger in front of a TV camera as if to say, “Not in our house.”
In front of a soldout crowd, No. 17 Oklahoma State produced a drama-laden 84-79 victory that epitomized the Bedlam series, complete with overtime and court-storming students.
“Thank you for bringing the rowdy back,” Cowboys coach Travis Ford said, taking the arena microphone to address fans. “This is what Gallagher-Iba is supposed to look like.”
The packed house of 13,611, the first Bedlam sellout in Stillwater in five years, got its money worth during a third straight thriller at home, and none other seemed more in doubt.
OSU (19-5, 9-3 Big 12) trailed by five with three minutes left and needed a series of clutch plays to secure a seventh consecutive Big 12 victory for the first time in nine years.
A Le’Bryan Nash dunk. A steal and layup by Phil Forte. An improbable fadeaway from Marcus Smart.
And those were just in regulation.
Perhaps the play of the game came in the closing minute, with the Sooners in possession and trailing by one. Markel Brown pick-pocketed Sam Grooms and passed ahead to Michael Cobbins, who delivered a dazzling spin and layup that proved to the winning basket.
“It’s all scouting report,” Brown said. “I knew (Grooms) was going to try to get the ball back to his left hand once he had it in his right hand.
“Once he put it in his left hand, I tried to make a steal for it and he tried to hurry up and bring it back to his right. ... Then he lost the handle of it and I was able to get it.”
On the other end, OU (16-8, 7-5) still had a chance with 28 seconds left. Steven Pledger, who had burned the Cowboys repeatedly, attempted a potentially tying 3-pointer that was blocked by Smart for a tie ball.
“He’s a good player and he could have easily pump-faked me and tried to get a foul,” Smart said. “But it was just instinct and I left my feet when he did and timed it perfectly.”
Smart then hit two clutch free throws to seal the win. After being limited with foul trouble in the first Bedlam meeting, a 77-68 loss, he couldn’t wait for a chance to redeem himself.
“That’s all I was thinking about this week was this game today and OU,” Smart said. “I just needed to come out and prove I was a better player, play right and I wasn’t going to let them frustrate me this time.”
Said Ford: “(Smart) watched a lot of film and we knew he was ready for this game. You could see it yesterday.”
During a second-half timeout, coaches planned to change up their defense to shut down the sharp-shooting Sooners. When told someone else would guard Pledger, Smart refused.
“He looked at me and said, ‘No, let me guard him. I’ve got him,’” Ford said. “When any player tells me that, I usually let them do it because then it’s on them and it’s a great challenge.”
Pledger didn’t score in the final 10 minutes of regulation or in overtime.
Smart and Nash, OSU’s McDonald’s All-Americans, played like McDonald’s All-Americans, combining for 54 points. Nash poured in 23 of his 26 after halftime, using a mismatch to get to the rim or to the free-throw line.
“I got two fouls early and didn’t get to play much in the first half, so I just tried to stay in the game and help this team win games,” Nash said. “ … I know I’m bigger and I’m glad I can post up. I just try to use that to my advantage.”
For a fifth straight year, OU and OSU split the regular-season series.
“They took it to us down there and they took it to us today, but at least we responded and just made a couple more plays,” Ford said. “What a great college basketball game.”
Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart (center) shoots between OU guard Steven Pledger (left) and forward Romero Osby in the first half of Saturday's game. SUE OGROCKI/Associated Press