Oklahoma St.-TCU Preview

The Associated Press

A wide variety of scoring options have Oklahoma State still with a chance at the Big 12 regular-season championship.

The 15th-ranked Cowboys will look for their ninth win in 10 games Wednesday night when they visit TCU.

Oklahoma State is 18-2 in the all-time series and won its seventh straight over the Horned Frogs with a 63-45 home victory Jan. 9.

The Cowboys remain one of the country's most balanced scoring teams and are the only one in the Big 12 with four players averaging at least 11 points - Markel Brown, Marcus Smart, Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte.

If the last game was any indication, Oklahoma State's offense may have added another scoring option to concern opposing teams. Brian Williams had a career-high 13 points in a 73-57 win at West Virginia on Saturday, helping the Cowboys bounce back from their double-overtime loss to Kansas last Wednesday.

Williams, who averaged 16.2 points in his final six games last season, had totaled just 15 in six games this season entering Saturday. He was sidelined for much of the season with a wrist injury.

"I thought Brian Williams played the best that he's played all year," said coach Travis Ford, who claimed his 100th win with Oklahoma State. "He's starting to get back in form."

Brown and Nash each scored 16 to lead five Cowboys in double figures. Smart had all 14 of his points in the second half.

Brown, the team's scoring leader with 15.9 points per game, has averaged 19.0 over the last seven games.

"The strength of our team is who are you going to stop? It's pretty tough to focus on one or two guys on our team," Ford said. "We have some versatility."

Oklahoma State (20-6, 10-4) remains 1 1/2 games back of Kansas State and Kansas - both 12-3 in league play - for the Big 12 lead. While they must hope the Jayhawks stumble, the Cowboys do get a shot at the Wildcats in their season finale.

Smart continues to lead a defense that forces the most turnovers - 15.2 per game - in the conference. He's among the nation's steal leaders with 2.9 per game, including five in the win over the Horned Frogs.

TCU (10-17, 1-13) will hope to better navigate that Oklahoma State defense this time after being held to 36.2 percent shooting and committing a season-high 21 turnovers in the first meeting. Rebounding also played a significant role as the Cowboys had a 40-21 edge.

The Horned Frogs, who have lost 13 of 14 and five in a row, badly need to break a habit of slow starts. They've mostly buried themselves before halftime, trailing by an average of 16 points after the first 20 minutes of the last five games.

They fell into a 38-9 halftime deficit at Kansas on Saturday, blowing any chance at duplicating their shocking upset over the Jayhawks earlier this month and going on to lose 74-48.

TCU's offense is one of the worst in the country, averaging 53.9 points.

"We struggle to score, especially when we play people like (Kansas)," coach Trent Johnson said.

The Horned Frogs' last win in the series with Oklahoma State was a 92-61 victory Dec. 26, 1986.

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