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Marcus Smart’s double-double in return leads Oklahoma State past Texas Tech

Marcus Smart

FILE - This Nov. 28, 2013, file photo shows Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart (33) putting up a three-pointer during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Purdue at the Old Spice Classic tournament in Kissimmee, Fla. Two months into the season, it hasn’t been all about the freshman. Yes, some have lived up to the billing, but many of the players who’ve had the biggest impact so far are ones who have been around for a while.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Phelan M. Ebenhack

Oklahoma State has struggled in Big 12 play since the loss of Michael Cobbins as the Cowboys aspirations went from title hopes in the conference to just getting in the field of 68.

After seven straight losses in the conference, Oklahoma State (17-10, 5-9) finally got back on the right track with an 84-62 win over Texas Tech (13-14, 5-9) at home on Saturday.

Returning from serving a three-game suspension for an incident involving shoving a Texas Tech fan earlier in the month, sophomore guard Marcus Smart gave the Cowboys a much needed infusion of balance and ability as he went for 16 points, 10 assists and six steals.

But it was the balance of the Cowboys’ offense that was impressive. LeBryan Nash went to work in the post, going for 21 points on 7-for-8 shooting while Phil Forte had 20 points, Markel Brown added 11 and Kamari Murphy added 10 points.

With four potent scoring options -- and five starters -- each contributing at a steady rate, Oklahoma State looked much better than its recent play had suggested as they didn’t force many looks and did a great job sharing the ball.

When Marcus Smart and Markel Brown are able to get others involved by attacking off-the-bounce, that is when Oklahoma State can get dangerous. The Cowboys have an uphill climb out of this recent slide, but the win on Saturday was a positive start and they have another winnable game against TCU until tough games with Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State before the Big 12 Tournament.

Can the Cowboys and Smart win some games against great competition and regain their early-season form? It’s possible by the looks of it against Texas Tech. Oklahoma State will still miss Michael Cobbins inside, but its offense is still very potent and balanced if they’re moving the ball.

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