ORLANDO, Fla. – Memphis coach Josh Pastner said before Sunday's Old Spice Classic championship game that revenge from his team's 101-80 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma State 12 days ago in Stillwater wasn't a factor.
While that may be the case, getting the best of the Tigers inside HP Field House with a title on the line was still pretty sweet.
"I'm not a revenge guy. I'm not like an ill-will guy," Pastner reflected Sunday night. "I think when you hold things in, things come out sideways. I talked to our guys about that. What I'm into is I felt a week and a half ago, after we got our butts kicked, we needed to have a course correction. We've corrected some of it, but we're not a finished product."
No. 21 Memphis (5-1), correcting course, overcame a 10-point halftime deficit Sunday to beat No. 5 Oklahoma State (7-1) by the final score of 73-68. Unlike the game in Gallagher-Iba Arena, it was close at the end. And, unlike that first meeting between the two teams, this time Marcus Smart was mortal, turning the ball over on each of the Cowboys' final two possessions.
Smart was held to just 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, including 0-of-5 from deep, but did grab eight rebounds and dole out four assists. He was joined by Phil Forte (19 points) and Markel Brown (10 points) as the only Poke in double figures scoring.
The Tigers were paced by 17 points and eight blocks from Shaq Goodwin, voted the tournament's MVP. Chris Crawford also came up big with 16 points, including three makes from downtown.
The win for Pastner is his first against an AP Top 25 team.
Joining Goodwin on the five-man All-Tournament team were Kellen Dunham (Butler), Austin Nichols (Memphis), Ron Roberts (St. Joseph's) and Smart.
THREE-POINT PLAY – MEMPHIS
- Coach Josh Pastner: "I've never gone into a game that I didn't want to win. I look at Oklahoma State the same way as I do Siena … Secondly, I don't take a win for granted because I understand how hard it is. But it's a player's game, and the reason a coach is able to have success in a game like this is because of the players."
- Chris Crawford on guarding Smart: "Coach just had a great game plan going into the game, and we just played pretty well. I guarded him for most of the game. Geron and Joe did a nice job, too. We just stayed the course."
- Shaq Goodwin on using this win for the future: "I think our biggest thing throughout this tournament was facing adversity. The last two games we came into halftime down. We didn't fold under pressure. I think that will go a long way for us."
THREE-POINT PLAY – OKLAHOMA STATE
- Coach Travis Ford: "This is a good basketball team, Memphis, so when you don't come and execute, you can't just turn it off and on. Against good teams, you just can't turn it off and on. I think we got in that mode again tonight, and it'll eventually catch up to you. It caught up to us."
- Marcus Smart on if he was forcing it: "Just a little bit. I wasn't really in a rhythm. Some certain times I forced a couple of things, especially late in the game."
- Smart on Memphis' adjustments on him: "No, it didn't catch me off-guard. I knew they were going to make adjustments because of how I played last game. I fully expected it. I couldn't find a groove out there. That happens sometimes."
FINAL: Memphis 73 - Oklahoma State 68
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