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SPORTS: Oklahoma State University

Rolling Along: OSU Rips K-State For Fourth-Straight Win

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

Saturday's victory against Kansas was exactly the boost Oklahoma State needed to get back into the NCAA Tournament discussion.

Monday night's win against Kansas State likely punched the Cowboys' ticket.

Oklahoma State used dominating defense and a well-rounded scoring attack to throttle a solid K-State squad 77-61 on Senior Night in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The win was important, the style points were a nice bonus.

Phil Forte matched a season high with 23 points, Marcus Smart scored 18 points, Markel Brown added 15 and Le'Bryan Nash chipped in 13 for the Cowboys (20-10, 8-9 Big 12), who followed their emotional victory over Kansas in impressive fashion, winning their fourth straight.

OSU's defense — spearheaded by Smart's lockdown performance against KSU star freshman Marcus Foster — was superb, limiting the Wildcats (20-10, 10-7) to 34.5 percent shooting, 3-of-15 3-point shooting and forcing 14 turnovers.

But it was a little past the midway point of the first half before the defense kicked it into high gear.

KSU's Shane Southwell drilled an open 3-pointer at the 9:40 mark to give the Wildcats a 22-15 advantage on the road.

Then OSU went into lockdown.

The Cowboys ended the half on a 20-5 run and stifled KSU into five points on 2-of-12 shooting with six turnovers for a 35-27 OSU lead at the break.

K-State tried to make things interesting out of the locker rooms, starting off the second half on a 5-0 run to trim the OSU lead to three.

But again, the Cowboy defense had an answer.

OSU used back-to-back breakaway layups off of steals to open the game back up to an eight-point margin; KSU would get no closer than six the rest of the way. The Cowboys' defense resulted in a 23-7 edge in point off turnovers and an 11-2 edge in fast-break points.

Oklahoma State avoided a potential slip up when Smart picked up his fourth foul with nearly six minutes remaining and the lead was trimmed to seven on the ensuing free throws, responding with a 7-1 run to shut down any threat of a comeback.

When Smart returned the rout was on, eventually swelling to 19 before the walkons entered for the remainder of the contest.

Smart continued his recent trend of strong second halves, scoring 16 points after intermission, and finished with a very Marcus-Smart-like stat line of 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block in what should prove to be his final game in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Although not a senior, Smart was honored before the game during the Senior Day ceremonies for Brown and walkon Mason Cox.

Thanks to the sizable lead, Smart and Brown were subbed out one at a time in between free throws at the 1:32 mark, receiving loud ovations from the GIA crowd.

Cox, much to the enjoyment of the crowd, got to cap off his career with a two-handed dunk with 18 seconds remaining.

Thomas Gipson had 10 points and 13 rebounds and Wesley Iwundu added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas State (20-10, 10-7), which had won three of four and was coming off a home win over Iowa State.

Speaking of Iowa State, OSU closes out the regular season on Saturday with a 1 p.m. matchup with the No. 16 Cyclones in Ames.

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