Second-Half Run Leads To Cowboys Victory

STILLWATER -- Oklahoma State and Texas started out looking like a rusty pick-up game at the Colvin Center across the OSU campus. But what started out ugly eventually became fairly pretty and even entered a free flowing period of play. In the end, the ebb and flow included a late additional Phil Forte three-pointer adding up to an 87-74 Big 12 Conference win for the 11th-ranked Cowboys.

It was the start of the second half that was most impressive for the Cowboys that came in looking for their first Big 12 Conference win after dropping the opener on the road to 25th-ranked Kansas State 74-71.

The second stanza started with back-to-back buckets by Markel Brown and then an impressive drive through the paint by Le'Bryan Nash that made it 45-39. That was followed by a Marcus Smart alley oop off the assist from Brown, and then Brown set up another teammate with a alley oop pass to Kamari Murphy.

Brown was more than an assist man as he also ended up as the leading scorer for OSU with 27 points while Marcus Smart had 24.

"I don't know why (I seem to have good games versus Texas), but the important thing tonight was for us to get the win after that hard fought loss at Kansas State," Brown said. "We really needed to win. That was what I was focused on."

"He's gotten better and there are a lot of good players in this league," Texas head coach Rick Barnes said of OSU's Brown. "He had 14 free throws which makes it pretty easy to get to 27. He is a good player, but I'm more concerned about my team and needing to get them to play. I'm going to guess Travis (Ford) didn't think his team played all that well with all the free throws and everything."

Defense kept the run going as Smart stole a Texas pass and then fired a pass to Brian Williams for the lay in and the foul. The next time down Williams hit a three-pointer from the baseline and the Cowboys' run was 16-6, increasing their lead to 54-43. A Phil Forte trey made it 57-45.

The middle of the second half became a run fest as both teams turned up the tempo with mixed results for each. Oklahoma State was mixing zone and man, but during the run portion of the half it was man defense by both teams. It was also during that time that the Cowboys shooting percentage seemed to climb and Texas's seemed to slip.

The game was chilly on the scoring end in the first half with at one point Oklahoma State shooting 29 percent from the field and 60 percent from the free-throw line. Texas was shooting 33 percent from the field but the difference early was the Longhorns were never frosty on their free throws.

The Cowboys took the first significant lead when the Longhorns went close to four minutes without scoring from 15:22 until guard Jevan Felix knocked down a pair of free throws at the 11:39 mark.

While Texas was in their drought, Kamari Murphy had a slam after working down the baseline. Brown, who had 11 first-half points, hit Brian Williams for a slam dunk. The most spectacular play was from, who else, Smart, who after a missed shot and being knocked to the floor, rebounded his miss, made a pass to Brown for an alley oop slam that made the score 11-8.

It was at 11:39 when Texas center Cameron Ridley was moving inside as OSU's Marek Soucek swung his arms behind him and connected flush with Ridley on the forehead, and here came the blood.

The offensive challenged play continued into the final five minutes of the half as Texas used a 12-4 run to eventually jump out 32-24 on the scoreboard. Forte heated up and hit back-to-back three-pointers. Texas countered with a pair of treys of their own coming from Demarcus Croaker and then 6-9 forward Connor Lammert connected for three. With 31 seconds left in the first half, Stevie Clark hit a three from the top of the key and the Cowboys led 38-36.

"We fought really hard and scrapped and battled against a team that was a whole lot bigger than we were," OSU head coach Travis Ford said. "We were buying time, buying time and the trying to get to a lead and keep it. We were trying a little bit of everything with our lineups."

It was the first time Clark had played since the win over Robert Morris on Dec. 30. Clark made the trip but did not suit up or play at Kansas State following his arrest on New Year's Day on I-35 in Edmond as the passenger in a car where marijuana was found.

The Longhorns added a free throw to make the halftime score 38-37. The Cowboys only positive shooting percentage at halftime was from beyond the arch with a 50 percent shooting percentage hitting three-of-six.

In the end Oklahoma State outshot Texas 45 to 40 percent, while Texas, as expected, with its bigger lineup, out-rebounded the Cowboys by more than a dozen.

No matter what all the other numbers conveyed the most important ones were the final point totals, and now the 11th-ranked Cowboys are 13-2 on the season and even at 1-1 in the Big 12 heading to West Virginia for a 3 p.m. (CT) tip off on Saturday.

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