STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Texas coach Rick Barnes believes his team can compete with any in the nation.
Even if it doesn’t always appear that way.
Markel Brown scored 27 points and Marcus Smart added 24 to help No. 11 Oklahoma State defeat Barnes’ Longhorns 87-74 Wednesday night. The numbers that bothered Barnes most were the 16 turnovers and 31 personal fouls.
“We’re so, from an execution standpoint, inconsistent,” he said.
Oklahoma State, on the other hand, executed well. Brown and Smart combined for 51 points, but Barnes was impressed by their combined nine assists and one turnover.
Phil Forte added 14 points for the Cowboys (13-2, 1-1 Big 12), who shot 54 percent from the field in the second half after struggling early.
Demarcus Holland had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Damarcus Croaker scored 12 points for the Longhorns (11-4, 0-2).
Texas battled, but Oklahoma State, which entered the game averaging 86 points, eventually overwhelmed the Longhorns.
Oklahoma State led by a point at halftime, but stormed out of the gate after the break. Back-to-back alley-oop dunks by Smart and Kamari Murphy highlighted a run that gave the Cowboys a 57-45 lead.
Smart took a hit in the face from Jon Holmes, and Texas was called for a flagrant 1. Smart made both free throws, and the Cowboys remained in control from there.
Holmes finished with 10 points, but he fouled out. Barnes said Holmes needs to play under control.
“Jon Holmes has to find a way for us to stay in the game,” Barnes said. “He starts the game and was on the bench because of plays he didn’t make. Turnover turned into a foul, the block out turned into a flagrant, it’s an easy call to make. It’s one thing to play hard, but it’s another to play smart.”
The Cowboys got off to a quick start, but Texas used strong play on the offensive glass to tie the score at 20 with 8 minutes left in the first half.
Croaker’s 3-pointer gave the Longhorns a 27-22 lead and made the home crowd uneasy. Texas’ lead swelled to eight in the first half before Oklahoma State rallied. Forte’s 3-pointer trimmed the Longhorns’ lead to three.
Smart scored in close, then the Cowboys regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Stevie Clark with 31 seconds left in the half. Oklahoma State led 38-37 at the break, despite shooting 39 percent and missing nine of 24 free throws.
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