Le'Bryan Nash scored 16 points as Oklahoma State led wire-to-wire in defeating Middle Tennessee State 68-44 Tuesday night.
Michael Cobbins scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds for OSU (9-1), while Phil Forte added 12 points and five assists. Jaqawn Raymond scored 11 points to lead Middle Tennessee (5-5), which was held to just 31.1 percent shooting (14 of 45) on the night.
Oklahoma State led by just 18-16 after Raymond sank a 3-pointer from the right side with 10:42 left in the opening half, but the Cowboys rolled on a 22-3 run over the next nine minutes to take over control of the contest.OSU started the second half with a 40-21 lead, and continued to display more of the same dominance, maintaining at least a 19-point lead the rest of the way. The key to that stretch was the Cowboys' suffocating defense, as they limited Middle Tennessee to just 1 of 12 shooting from the field over that span of 10:34 before Jacquez Rozier's basket with eight seconds left in the half left Oklahoma State with a 40-21 halftime lead.
The second half saw more of the same dominance from Oklahoma State, as the Cowboys maintained at least a 19-point lead for the rest of the way. Oklahoma State used an early 11-3 run to build up a 16-8 advantage with 12:41 left in the opening half, punctuated by Anthony Allen's rim-rattling dunk off a slick pass from Forte. Middle Tennessee responded with an 8-2 run of its own to pull back to within two, but the Cowboys answered with another surge of their own, scoring nine straight points to build up a 27-16 lead when Forte executed a pretty reverse layup with 6:20 remaining.
Middle Tennessee State never held the lead in the contest. The closest the Blue Raiders came was a 5-5 tie after Edward Simpson connected on a 3-pointer from the left sideline just 2:58 in. Oklahoma State scored the next six points and Middle Tennessee never got closer than two again.
When Oklahoma State's Forte sank a three-pointer from the left side with 2:28 left in the first half, it marked the 15th straight game in which he's scored from beyond the arc. Forte, who entered the day ranking fourth in the Big 12 in 3-pointers made, wound up shooting 1-of-6 from 3-point range.
Oklahoma State hosts Maryland On Sunday afternoon.
Middle Tennessee State hosts Chattanooga on Friday.