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Boys basketball: Welcome back: Smart, Forte lead Oklahoma St. past TCU
FORT WORTH - If it weren't for the empty purple seats still available, orange would have been the prevalent color in the stands Wednesday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on the campus of TCU when the Horned Frogs played host to No. 15 Oklahoma State in a Big 12 mens basketball game.
A typically strong Cowboy backing in the Metroplex was bolstered further by the return of a trio of local products, which played key roles in Oklahoma State's 64-47 victory over TCU.
Marcus products and freshman Marcus Smart and Phil Forte were in town and on the court together for the first time since their high school days as the Cowboys made their first trek to Fort Worth for Big 12 competition (the Horned Frogs are in their inaugural season in the conference).
"I think half (of the crowd) was our family members and half were TCU fans," Smart said.
"It's definitely [an incentive]," Forte added. "It's fun to come home and see all of your friends and family in the stands. It makes you want to play a little harder just seeing them come out to the game was great."
Smart posted nine points, five assists, three rebounds, three steals and a block, while Forte chipped in two points and an assist in 15 minutes.
But it was Lincoln product Le'Bryan Nash who stole the show, as the sophomore recorded a career high 28 points with six rebounds in the win on 12-of-16 shooting.
"I was thankful for my teammates for coming through," Nash said. "They saw how I was going and kept getting me the ball. When you have teammates like that, it's easy because they having winning attitude and will do anything it takes to win."
Early in the first half, Forte entered and immediately knocked down his first field goal attempt to put Oklahoma State in front, 12-8. Nash followed with six consecutive points for the Cowboys before Smart split a double team and got to the hoop for an easy layup to increase the margin to 20-12.
Later in the half, Smart buried a 3-pointer, and on the ensuing possession came up with a steal and assist to Bryan Williams for an and-1 to put Oklahoma State in control at 36-24.
In the second half, a no-look pass from Smart to Nash resulted in a dunk and forcing a TCU timeout with the Horned Frogs down, 44-24.
Leading, 50-32, Smart headed to the bench for a breather, but the rest was short-lived as head coach Travis Ford quickly reinserted the freshman point guard one minute later after the lead had been sliced to 14 with 8:33 remaining. Smart promptly drew contact and got to the free throw line for two to push the margin back to 18 at 54-36 before the Cowboys settled for the final margin.
"Anytime you go on the road in the Big 12 anything is possible," Forte said. "Especially seeing them beat Kansas here, that definitely caught our attention, and we knew that we had to come prepared."
Following the game, Smart, Forte and Nash greeted their friends and family members in the hallway for pictures.
"This felt good," Nash said. "I had a lot of people here for me and a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time. I tried to invite them to the game, and I'm glad I played well because last year at SMU I didn't. It was fun and I got to see everyone, but we got a good W on the road and that's the most important thing."