"It wasn't the way we drew it up, but I won't get into that very much. It's just a guy trying his hardest," said Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford on the Cowboys final attempt as they inbounded the ball with 1.9 seconds remaining on the clock.
"They did a pretty good job defensively. Le'Bryan [Nash] popped open and got the ball, and it wasn't a bad scenario. It wasn't the best shot, but we were going to have to take a tough shot at that point. We didn't execute it perfectly, but we got it inbounds and got a decent look. Not the greatest look by any stretch, but we got a look at it."
Nash was one of five players in the 55-minute game to record a double-double, as the Oklahoma State junior finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Cowboys teammate Markel Brown contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds. Iowa State's DeAndre Kane (26 points, 10 rebounds), Melvin Ejim (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Dustin Hogue (10 points, 13 rebounds) also recorded double-doubles.
The Cowboys had their chances to win the game in the final 13 seconds of the third overtime despite falling behind. Trailing 98-95 following two free throws by Iowa State's Naz Long, Brown drove the ball to the basket for a dunk which trimmed the lead to 98-97.
However, the Cowboys couldn't stop the clock because they were out of timeouts. But OSU's Brian Williams knocked the ball off Long's leg on the inbounds play, giving the Cowboys possession in front of their bench with 11.3 seconds still left.
Marcus Smart, who finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, missed from the left side of the lane but the ball bounced out of bounds off Iowa State with 1.9 seconds remaining to give the Cowboys one last chance. Smart found Nash, who only had time to catch, turn and shoot … but the ball bounced off the rim as the horn sounded.
Oklahoma State has now lost three in a row – to Oklahoma, Baylor and now Iowa State – after climbing to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll two weeks ago. The Cowboys are now 16-6 overall and 4-5 in the Big 12.
The Cowboys played Monday night without freshman guard Stevie Clark, who was dismissed from the team earlier in the day after his arrest early Sunday morning in Stillwater for outraging public decency.
"It's been frustrating coming off the Baylor loss and losing Stevie, one of our key teammates and one of my good friends," said Nash, who 23 points following halftime against the Cyclones. "It was hard but we had to fight through it. You know, life moves on, and we had to get ready for Iowa State."
OSU returns to action on Saturday in Lubbock against Texas Tech.