Oklahoma State's basketball season almost got off to a rocky start but the Pokes put together an 11-1 run in the second half to pull away from UC Davis for the team's 38th consecutive victory in home season openers.
Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash led the Cowboys' charge with 16 points each as OSU held off the Aggies 73-65 on Friday night.
Heralded freshman Marcus Smart had a rough shooting night in his first official game, going 1-for-6 from the field, but made up for it in nearly every other area. He hit 6-of-7 free throws to finish with eight points and also added seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block in 34 minutes.
The Cowboys led by as many as 13 points in the opening half but UC Davis rallied to trail by five at the half. The Aggies came out aggressive in the second half and took the lead at 51-48 on a 3-pointer by Darius Graham with 13:35 remaining. The game remained tight for the next several minutes, as it was tied at 61 with five minutes to play.
But then senior Jean-Paul Olukemi stole the ball and raced to the opposite end for a slam to give the Cowboys a lead they would not relinquish.
Freshman Phil Forte had 13 points off the bench, including three 3-pointers. Olukemi finished with 10, and freshman Kamari Murphy scored seven points, grabbed six rebounds and had four blocks in the contest.
Davis outrebounded OSU 43-29 and outshot the Cowboys 41.8 percent to 40.4 percent. One of the key positives for OSU was it committed just nine turnovers, while forcing the Aggies into 21 miscues.
Oklahoma State will travel to Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and will face the Akron Zips in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 15. Tipoff is set for 9:30 a.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.