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Oklahoma State Hammers Delta Devils In Opener

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

A long-standing criticism of Le'Bryan Nash has been his perceived lack of aggression and focus on the basketball court.

There will be no such bad mouthing of the Cowboys' junior forward based on Friday night's performance.

Nash took on added responsibilities in the post amidst first-half foul trouble for OSU's bigs and shot, dunked, dove, rebounded and fought his way to a stellar opening night performance, helping pace No. 8 Oklahoma State to a 117-62 shellacking of Mississippi Valley State in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Despite his small forward build, the 6-foot-7 Nash was tasked with playing a sizable amount of the opening half at center and bulled his way to 14 points and seven boards in the first 20 minutes. He finished by posting his first-career double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds on 6-for-9 shooting and was 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.

Nash's performance is something coach Travis Ford wouldn't mind seeing a little more often.

"I'll take those numbers every game. (Le'Bryan) was tremendous," Ford said. "He had to kind of hold the fort down for us when everybody got in foul trouble in the first half. He and Brian Williams were the lone starters out there for us. We moved him to the five spot, and I think he played about 12-14 minutes at center for us. Le'Bryan gave us a rebounding presence in there, which is great to see, because it's something we've been challenging him to do and something he hasn't been doing. For him to go out and get 10 rebounds was something we were excited to see."

And that focus Nash displayed permeated throughout the entire roster, as the No. 8 team in the country showed it was well prepared and dialed in for an overmatched Delta Devil squad.

The numbers speak for themselves.

OSU's 63 first-half points were just four shy of the school record of 67 set against Houston Baptist on Dec. 15, 1998 and it's 117 total point were the most for the Cowboys since scoring 122 against Northwestern State back on Jan. 3, 1998. And the Pokes' defense came to play, as well, as OSU's 55-point margin of victory is tied for the 10th-largest in school history.

Sophomore guard Phil Forte came off the bench to lead Oklahoma State in scoring with 22 points, including a 4-of-7 showing from the 3-point line and 6-for-6 from the foul line.

Markel Brown scored 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-4 from the 3-point line, and Brian Williams added 14 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-7 from the field.

It wasn't a banner day for All-American Marcus Smart, but it didn't need to be, as the sophomore finished with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals on 4-for-9 shooting.

Smart was the lone Cowboy starter to shoot below 50 percent, as the team shot 61.3 percent overall for its best showing since it shot 60.9 percent against UTSA in 2011.

DeAngelo Priar led MSVU with 19 points and Anthony McDonald added 16 for the Delta Devils in the loss, which improved OSU to 21-0 all-time against schools from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Oklahoma State is back in action on Tuesday when the Cowboys host Utah Valley at 7 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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