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SPORTS: Oklahoma State University

Nash Paces No. 7 Cowboys Past Bulldogs

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

It had been more than a week since Oklahoma State had played a basketball game and, despite some rusty shooting out of the gates, the Cowboys managed to pick up right where they left off -- at least on the defensive end.

The No. 7 Cowboys' defense was stout from the start and the offense followed suit over time, as OSU thumped a solid Louisiana Tech squad 70-55 at the All-College Classic in Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Le'Bryan Nash recorded his second-career double-double to lead the way for the Pokes with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Nash was the Cowboys' offense in the first half, scoring 15 of OSU's 31 points and doing it efficiently and methodically to pick up the slack as the offense was trying to find its footing.

The Bulldogs were dead set on limiting Marcus Smart and, for the most part, they were successful. The All-American point guard didn't have one of his better shooting performances on 3-of-8 from the field, but Smart found a way to make an impact with a dominant defensive showing.

Smart had five steals and two blocks, spearheading a Cowboy defensive onslaught that limited La. Tech to 33.3 percent shooting for the game and the Bulldogs were just 6-of-30 in the opening 20 minutes.

Smart finished with 13 points and also added five rebounds and three assists. Markel Brown also added 13 points for OSU (9-1) on 5-of-13 shooting with six rebounds.

And, just like Smart, Brown made up for a so-so offensive game on D. Brown locked down the Bulldogs' best player, Raheem Appleby, limiting him to just nine points on 4-of-15 shooting. He was averaging 17 per game coming in and 28 points against Northwestern State just four days ago.

Kamari Murphy celebrated his birthday with 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting performance and added three rebounds off the bench.

Chris Anderson scored 14 points and Alex Hamilton had 12 for Louisiana Tech, which played strong defense as well, holding Oklahoma State scoreless over the first 4 minutes of the game and limited the Cowboys to 44 percent shooting and 18.2 percent from 3.

The Bulldogs (8-3) made a push in the second half but could never pull closer than seven, as the Pokes used their athleticism to keep Tech at arm's length, eventually pulling away.

Oklahoma State hadn't played since a 79-52 destruction of South Carolina on Dec. 6 and it was evident on the offensive end in the early going. OSU didn't score a point until the 15:47 mark.

But once the Pokes got going in the second half, it was over. OSU responded to Tech's rally with a 14-2 run to put the game out of reach and held LT scoreless for nearly four minutes to wipe out any realistic chance of the upset.

And an upset it most certainly would have been. No. 7 OSU was the highest ranked opponent Louisiana Tech has faced on the hardwood since 1991 when it played, interestingly enough, Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys host Delaware State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Stillwater.

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