LeBryan Nash delivers big performance in OSU's win over TCU
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2013
2/28/13 at 8:52 AM
Related Story: OSU basketball notebook: Five in a row
FORT WORTH - As they emerged from postgame interviews, Le'Bryan Nash and Marcus Smart were greeted by cheers and applause.
Dozens of orange-clad fans clamored for photos and autographs after the Oklahoma State pair helped the 15th-ranked Cowboys to a 64-47 victory Wednesday night against TCU.
While a road contest, it was a coming-close-to-home game for Nash, a Dallas native, and Smart, who along with teammate Phil Forte is from Flower Mound.
"Half (of the crowd) was from our family members and half was TCU fans," Smart said.
Smart, the superstar freshman point guard, drew the loudest ovation during pregame introductions, but it was Nash who delivered the big performance - a career-high 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting.
"It was awesome, especially in front of my family," Nash said. "You always try to have good games, but doing it in front of your family makes it even better."
For the often-criticized Nash, the outpouring of support after the game was a welcomed sight.
"This is the positive stage," he said, smiling. "I can't wait to look on Twitter to see what they have to say about me."
Here's what TCU coach Trent Johnson had to say about the mismatch Nash causes: "He's bigger. He's stronger. He's quicker. And he's got more of a skill set than anybody we have."
When the Horned Frogs honed in OSU's guards, the Cowboys (21-6, 11-4 Big 12) started taking advantage of Nash's mismatch. When their lead was trimmed to 26-23, Nash hit back-to-back shots, prompting an 18-1 run capped by his three consecutive makes to open the second half.
Nash didn't let up, helping OSU easily secure its fifth straight road victory.
"I thought Le'Bryan's performance was impressive," coach Travis Ford said. "I liked where he got his points. I liked the speed of his game."
Ford advised his Dallas-area players to avoid the distraction of being close to home, but Nash appeared to be motivated by it after a forgettable outing (four points, four rebounds) in a win at SMU last season.
"I'm glad I had a good game because last year against SMU, I didn't," he said. "It was fun, and it was a good win. That's the most important thing."
Thanks to Nash's ability to find ways to score, none of his teammates needed to get hot. For the first time this season, the Cowboys had only one player score in double figures.
Smart had nine points, five assists, three steals and three rebounds.
"(He) doesn't worry about scoring," Johnson said. "He just worries about getting his teammates involved.
"... We didn't have an answer to Nash. But make no mistake about it, the key to that whole thing is what Smart does. He's special. He's really special."
Although TCU is last in the league, its lone Big 12 win - a stunning 62-55 upset of Kansas - served as a warning to the rest of the conference.
"Anytime you go on the road in the Big 12, anything's possible," Forte said. "After seeing them beat Kansas here, that got our attention. We had to come prepared to play here."
Said Nash: "Coach Ford was always talking about it, 'If it can happen to Kansas, it can happen to us.'
"We respect TCU a lot. We respect what they did against Kansas. We just put our heads together and came out with a win."
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Original Print Headline: Nash helps lift OSU past TCU
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
Oklahoma State's Le'Bryan Nash looks for an opportunity to the basket against TCU's Garlon Green during Wednesday's game in Fort Worth, Texas. TONY GUTIERREZ / Associated Press