Lucky Number 11: OSU Defeats West Virginia
Le'Bryan Nash
Le'Bryan Nash

Posted Jan 11, 2014


On Sept. 28, Oklahoma State's football team visited West Virginia for the first time since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 and the 11th-ranked Cowboys fell in a monumental upset. Last Saturday, the 11th-ranked Cowgirls lost a shocker 71-67 to West Virginia. On Saturday, OSU's basketball team visited West Virginia but the 11th-ranked Cowboys got a clutch trey for a 73-72 victory in Morgantown.

Trailing 72-70, Oklahoma State rebounded a miss off a West Virginia drive and brought the ball down on the offensive end. Marcus Smart had the ball at the top of the arch and started to drive but kicked over to Markel Brown on the left wing.

Brown, who had missed 12 three-point attempts in a row dating back to the win over Delaware State, knocked down a three-pointer to put Oklahoma State up 73-72 with 11.6 seconds left.

"I did expect to get it. I missed one and I had passed one up and they did get on me for passing it up," said Brown of the winning bucket on the Cowboys Radio Network post-game show.

"I did expect to get it, and Marcus (Smart) passed it to me just the way we drew it up before in a time out. I had to wait for the guy coming at me to fly by but then I put it up and fortunately it went in," said Brown.

"We'd been running some horns look and I changed it up to a double ball screen. It is a similar look and we had some luck with those screens at the top of the lane," Cowboys head coach Travis Ford said of the set up on the winning basket. "I had got on Markel (Brown) earlier on passing up a three."

The Cowboys still had to weather a drive on the other end by Mountaineers standout point guard Juwan Staten as the defensive combination of Kamari Murphy backing up and Brian Williams coming in from the side.

The shot missed and the ball bounced out to Le'Bryan Nash, who took off for the other end of the floor but was grabbed with what the officials ruled was with 0.6 seconds left. Nash missed the front end of the one-and-one free throw situation and the rebound and long toss to the other end was way off.

The Cowboys survived and gained their first conference road win of the season. Oklahoma State is 14-2 overall with a 2-1 Big 12 mark. West Virginia, much improved this season, fell to 10-6 and lost its first Big 12 game to go to 2-1.

"You hit the nail right on the head as this was a total team effort and everybody that played did something to help us win," Ford said of his Oklahoma State team as he spoke to John Holcomb of the Cowboy Radio Network. "It was a very physical game and we didn't play very well the first half but we played better in the second half. I think we played smarter."

West Virginia led the battle of terrific guard trios 41-39 at the half with five made three-pointers and having led Oklahoma State by as many as eight points. The ring leaders of the guard groupings, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State and Juwan Staten of West Virginia, each had 12 points at intermission.

A Markel Brown jumper to start the half tied the game and then Oklahoma State took its first lead in the game. That's right, OSU did not lead in the game until the 16:54 mark when Smart's three-pointer made it 46-43.

Smart would finish with 22 points and a career-best 13 rebounds. It was his second game in a row with 20-plus points and double-digit rebounds as he really has helped soften the blow for lost post player Michael Cobbins, who was lost to a blown Achilles in the Robert Morris win on Dec. 30.

Besides Smart and Brown, Nash was another major factor in the game, finishing with 18 points. Nash had a wrap around underneath that closed the game to 52-51 after West Virginia had taken back the lead midway through the second half.

Phil Forte had nine points, all on threes. One off of a Stevie Clark blocked shot was followed by another Nash bucket underneath inside to put Oklahoma State up 58-53 with 9:30 left in the game.

"With our confidence right now every team in our conference is tough," said Forte. "We were fortunate enough to make enough plays at the end to win it. Like the pass Marcus made to Markel, and he really read the defense well and realized he had time to get his feet under him and make a big play."

Down the stretch Terry Henderson was a major weapon for the Mountaineers as he connected on a pair of his five-for-seven three-point shooting effort. His trey with a shooter's bounce closed the game to 67-65. About three minutes later Henderson nailed another three, this time at the 1:17 mark and West Virginia led 72-70.

That lead would hold until Brown took his slump-busting three-pointer that did more than get Markel back on track beyond the arch but also secured the Cowboys a key road win while putting an end to the unlucky No. 11 rankings for OSU when playing West Virginia.

Oklahoma State now comes home to Gallagher-Iba Arena to host a Big 12 winless TCU squad on Wednesday night.


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