Oklahoma State more than Smart in win

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LAS VEGAS -- More than three dozen NBA scouts representing 27 teams were in attendance on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to watch potential high lottery pick Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State.
But it was the talented sophomore guard's supporting cast that stole the spotlight as the No. 7 Cowboys defeated No. 20 Colorado 78-73 in the MGM Grand Showcase.
Senior guard Markel Brown scored 23 points and matched his career high with 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Phil Forte scored 16 points, including a trio of 3-pointers during a six-minute span late in the second half that helped Oklahoma State (11-1) build a 12-point lead with three minutes to go.
"I hope I got their attention a little bit," Brown said when asked about the large turnout of NBA scouts. "I just wanted to go out there and have fun with my teammates. That was a huge win against Colorado. They beat a very good Kansas team. They're going to win a lot of games in the Pac-12, so it was a very good win for us."
It was the first double-double of the season for Brown and the fourth of his career.
"Finally," Brown said. "Finally. I've been trying to work on that thing all season. It's the first one of the season and I need to get plenty more. Rebounding is a big thing for us. It helps us get out in transition. If I can do that more, we'll be better off."
Smart, who sat out the final seven minutes of the first half with two fouls, finished with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field. Cowboys forward Le'Bryan Nash added 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
"Marcus did some good things at key times, but Markel Brown was great," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. "Phil Forte hit some key shots. But it was all about execution for us in the second half, executing key plays we wanted to run. In the first half, our fast break kept us in it. We were really pushing the basketball."
Colorado (10-2), which had a 10-game win streak snapped, closed to four points twice in the final 25 seconds before Forte sealed it with a free throw with 14 seconds left.
Sophomore forward Josh Scott scored 20 points, making 10-of-13 free throws, and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds to lead the Buffaloes. Guards Askia Booker (19) and Spencer Dinwiddie (18) also scored in double figures.
Colorado lost despite finishing with a 41-30 rebounding edge that included 18 offensive boards that led to a 21-4 advantage in second-chance points. The Buffaloes connected on just 26-of-64 shots from the field (40.6 percent).
"We have a lot to improve upon and we didn't play our best game, so that's encouraging," Scott said. "It's still early on. We have better basketball to play in the future, so I'm not really worried. We'll get there and improve."
Oklahoma State shot 52.1 percent from the floor, including 62 percent in the second half, and forced 14 turnovers that resulted in a 20-11 edge in points off turnovers.
"They shot 62 percent in the second half," Scott said. "That's not good enough (defense) to beat the No. 7 team in the country."
Smart had nine points in the first half despite sitting out the final 7:04 after picking up his second foul. The Cowboys led 20-16 when he went to the bench, and Colorado quickly tied the game on a drive by Dinwiddie followed by a rebound basket by Tre'Shaun Fletcher.
But Brown took charge after that, scoring seven points including a 17-foot jumper as the shot clock buzzer went off to give Oklahoma State a 29-25 lead. After Xavier Johnson sank a free throw, Brown finished the half with a three-point play on a nice drive to basket to give the Cowboys a 32-26 lead.
NOTES: Oklahoma State entered the game leading the Big 12 and ranked second in the nation in scoring margin (plus-24.5) behind only defending national champion Louisville (plus-25.8). ... Colorado hasn't defeated a Top-10 opponent on a neutral floor since edging No. 6 Missouri 92-88 in overtime in the 1990 Big Eight Tournament in Kansas City. ... Colorado, which held a 22-17 rebounding edge at halftime, lost for the first time this season when outrebounding an opponent at the end of the first half. The Buffaloes were 10-0 coming in.

What to Read Next