No. 9 Oklahoma State pounds TCU in tune-up for Kansas showdown
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)
With a Big 12 showdown looming, Oklahoma State wasn't going to get caught looking past TCU.
Marcus Smart drained three 3-pointers in the first four minutes to set the tone, then the ninth-ranked Cowboys overwhelmed Texas Christian 82-50 on Wednesday night.
The Cowboys said a slip-up before a key matchup against Kansas wasn't an option.
''We just went out there with the mindset of `it's the next team on our schedule,''' Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown said of TCU. ''We're not going to do too much looking forward, looking over opponents. We just wanted to go out there, play our style of basketball, trying to get in a rhythm, trying to keep the chemistry alive.''
Smart, the reigning Big 12 player of the week, finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Cowboys (15-2, 3-1 Big 12). Brown scored 14 points and Le'Bryan Nash added 13 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys needed a win to stay within range of first-place Kansas. The 15th-ranked Jayhawks (4-0 Big 12) host the Cowboys on Saturday, and Oklahoma State made no effort to downplay the importance of the matchup.
''This is a statement game,'' Nash said. ''Who can be the best team in the Big 12? This is one of the key matchups in the Big 12. We know it's going to be a highlight game, and, hopefully, this team is ready for this war that we're getting ready to go into.''
Oklahoma State will go in with momentum. The Cowboys shot 47 percent from the field to win for the eighth time in nine games and improve to 9-0 at home.
Karviar Shepherd scored 13 points and Amric Fields and Michael Williams each added 11 for the Horned Frogs (9-7, 0-4) in their most lopsided loss of the season.
The Horned Frogs were blown out for the second straight game — they lost 88-62 at Baylor Saturday. TCU coach Trent Johnson said his team was completely overmatched.
''Oklahoma State's better than we are,'' he said. They're deeper and more talented. It's important for me in my position that the kids understand that.''
Kyan Anderson, who entered the game leading the Horned Frogs with 15.6 points per game, finished with eight points on 2-for-8 shooting.
''We played him as if he's a very important part of their basketball team,'' Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. ''We played him as if we'd better do a good job on him or TCU can hurt you when a guy's contributing that many points. I thought we overall did a pretty good job on him.''
The Cowboys have been concerned about rebounding since post player Michael Cobbins went down for the season with a ruptured left Achilles' tendon late last month, but OSU outrebounded the Horned Frogs 46-33.
''That's all we've really been talking about the last couple of days is rebounding,'' Ford said. ''I'm sure they're tired of hearing about it, but it will continue because every team's got things they've got to get better at, and obviously, rebounding was an area that it was good to see some improvement with.''
Oklahoma State led by 14 at halftime before stretching its lead in the early minutes of the second half. A pair of free throws by Kamari Murphy pushed OSU's lead to 48-29, and a tip-in by Smart pushed the Cowboys' lead past 20 points for the first time.
A lob from Smart led to a two-handed jam by Brown that gave the Cowboys a 71-47 edge, and OSU cruised from there.
Smart hit three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the game to give Oklahoma State a 9-4 lead. A fast-break jam by Murphy gave the Cowboys a 28-15 lead with 6:55 left in the first half.
The Cowboys shot 55 percent from the field in the first half and made 7 of 11 3-pointers. Smart scored nine points before the break and Brown added eight. Shepherd and Williams each scored seven points in the first half for TCU. Johnson said it was one of TCU's best halves of basketball this season, but OSU's talent took over after the break.
'' I thought they wore us down,'' Johnson said. ''I thought we competed really well and really hard. They have a good offense, but that's attributed to good defense. they can come get you in there and Marcus (Smart) is a very good basketball player.