Smartly, Marcus Smart Stays Out of Trouble in Debut after Three-Game Suspension
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16 points, 10 assists, 6 steals, and most importantly, a victory.
Marcus Smart became the first player in Big-12 conference history to record those gaudy statistics in Oklahoma State's much-needed conference win against Texas Tech on Saturday in Stillwater.
Amid a 7-game losing streak, the Cowboys were desperate for something positive after the ugly fallout that ensued following a loss to Texas Tech on 8 February, where Smart notably pushed Texas Tech's so-called 'super-fan' Jeff Orr. The incident resulted in a three-game suspension for Smart and a media uproar, specifically scrutinizing Smart's character and questioning fan's behavior during collegiate contests.
Oklahoma State lost all three games that Smart was suspended, but it was Smart who provided the spark that propelled Oklahoma State to a 84-62 win today.
A preseason pick for first team All-American, Smart has been quite inconsistent throughout this season. The Cowboys have certainly underachieved with Smart, the projected NBA first rounder, carrying the brute of the blame. He's been brilliant at times, but has a tendency to hibernate on occasion when Oklahoma State needs his offensive firepower and defensive fortitude.
Despite his inconsistencies, Smart took his frustrations out on the Raiders today and put on a show. He was effective on the offensive end, making five of his ten field goal attempts. He attacked the rim, which resulted in seven free throw attempts, and he was active on the defensive end, accumulating two blocks to go along with six very important steals. The most pertinent aspect of his game -- his vision -- was exhibited. Smart mentioned post-game that during his stint on the bench, he was given a unique opportunity to see the "extra pass" needed within the Cowboys offense and tried to exploit those opportunities against the Raiders.
Despite this solid performance, Oklahoma State -- barring a exceptional run in the Big-12 tournament -- may be headed for the NIT. Only one team has managed to miraculously make the NCAA field as an at-large selection with a seven-game losing streak, and Oklahoma State doesn't have the résumé to be a viable pick.
Even if the NCAA tournament doesn't come calling, it's good to see a talented player like Smart back on the court where he belongs.
Of course, that's if Smart can prevent himself from going 'Chuck Norris' on any obnoxious fans in the future.