Nash, Cowboys Roll In Second Half

STILLWATER, Okla. – Travis Ford is hoping Le'Bryan Nash's performance in the second half of Oklahoma State's win over TCU on Wednesday night is just a tune-up for Saturday. The 6-7 junior had 11 points and seven rebounds in the second half of the Cowboys' 82-50 victory at Gallagher-Iba Arena. But he'll need to be just as good Saturday when OSU travels to Lawrence, Kan., to face No. 15 Kansas.

The Cowboys were leading 39-25 at halftime against the Horned Frogs, who have yet to win a Big 12 game on the road since joining the conference prior to the 2012-13 season. But Nash had little to do with the 14-point halftime lead, scoring just two points (on 1 of 4 shooting from the field) and grabbing one rebound in 15 minutes of play.

However, the second half was a different story as the Cowboys improve to 15-2 overall and 3-1 in Big 12 play. TCU falls to 9-7 and 0-4 in the Big 12, and is now 0-11 in conference road games the past two seasons.

"My teammates kept feeding me the ball trying to get me in a rhythm. I had a terrible first half. That was one of the key points to come out in the second half and get me going inside. I know we outscored them a lot in the second half. I just give credit to my teammates," said Nash, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.

But Nash wasn't the only Cowboy to finish with eight rebounds. Three other OSU starters finished with eight rebounds – Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Kamari Murphy – as the Cowboys dominated the boards in the second half.

OSU head coach Travis Ford was not satisfied with his team's play in the first half, despite Marcus Smart opening the scoring with three consecutive 3-pointers and the Cowboys using a 10-0 run midway through the half to open up a 30-15 lead.

"It's a good win for our team. We talked about a lot of things at halftime … (there were) a lot of things we needed to do better in the second half, and we went out and did most of them," said Ford. "(We) rebounded the ball better, at halftime it was 17-17, and we only had one offensive rebound… we needed to increase the margin and we did that (finishing with 13 more rebounds than the Horned Frogs, 46-33). It was a very good rebounding half.

"I thought on the first half we relied on our offense, (we were) making tough shots. I told the guys we need to start relying on our defense, and have our defense create some offense, and make them take a few tougher shots, and we did that."

The Cowboys made it a priority to get the ball to Nash in the second half and it paid off as OSU outscored TCU 43-25 over the final 20 minutes. He ended up taking 15 shots in the game, four more than anyone else on the team.

"You could see how much we were going to him to try to get him going (in the second half)," Ford said. "I didn't like his approach in the first half. I think he was taking a few things for granted, thinking I have this guy one-on-one.

"What I loved about LB in the second half is that he went to about fifth gear; if there's five gears, he went to about fifth gear. He was playing physical. The first shot of the second half he goes up and gets an offensive rebound. His approach was much different, and we went to him a lot to try to see if he was ready to go.

I liked his approach (in the second half). I didn't think he played great, I didn't think he played his best, but I did like his second half. I thought he got after it pretty good."

Smart led the Cowboys with 20 points but had only eight rebounds, missing out on recording his third consecutive double-double (after going for 24-11 against Texas and 22-13 versus West Virginia). He also had a team-high five assists and two steals in 32 minutes of play.

Markel Brown contributed 14 points and eight rebounds, while Murphy finished with eight points and eight rebounds.

The Horned Frogs shot 29.1 percent from the field, the third time this season that OSU has held an opponent to under 30 percent.

The Cowboys will try to duplicate last season's 85-80 upset of the then second-ranked Jayhawks on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in front of a national television audience (CBS). Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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