USF stays close early, then Cowboys explode behind Marcus Smart
Cowboys show why they are ranked 5th in the nation
3:55 PM, Nov 26, 2013
Tampa - Marcus Smart and Markel Brown scored 25 points apiece, leading No. 5 Oklahoma State to a 93-67 victory over South Florida on Monday night.
The Cowboys (5-0) were barely tested in the early-season matchup of unbeaten teams, Oklahoma State's first game since a 21-point rout of Memphis.
There were eight lead changes in the opening minutes, however Smart put a big exclamation mark on a 23-point opening-half with a buzzer-beating shot from beyond half-court to put Oklahoma State up by 16 at halftime.
That was as close as South Florida (4-1) would get the rest of the way.
John Egbunu led USF with 15 points and eight rebounds. Victor Rudd had 14 points and Chris Perry finished with 10.
Smart only took three shots in the second half and didn't score until making a pair of free throws with 3:22 remaining in the game. By that time the lead was up to 89-63, Smart left the game and the only remaining question is whether Oklahoma State would score over 100 for the the third time in five games.
The Cowboys began the night averaging 102 points after beating Mississippi Valley State, Utah Valley, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Memphis by an average of 41 points per game.
Smart scored a career-high 39 points during last week's 101-80 victory over Memphis, helping his team climb two spots in the latest rankings. Oklahoma State will spend the rest of the week in Florida, where it will play three more games in the Old Spice Classic at Disney World, beginning with a Thanksgiving Day matchup against Purdue.
The 6-foot-4 guard who decided to remain in school rather than enter the NBA draft after the Cowboys' early exit from the NCAA tournament made 8 of 13 shots in the opening half, with the only 3-pointer he made coming on a heave from beyond midcourt to finish a 14-5 spurt that opened a 51-35 halftime lead.
South Florida, which was unbeaten through four games for only the eighth time in the program's 43-year history, fell to 5-39 against ranked opponents in seven seasons under coach Stan Heath. The Bulls have only been 5-0 or better twice, the last time 12 years ago.
Le'Bryan Nash scored 15 points and Brian Williams had 13 for Oklahoma State. Smart finished 8 of 16 from the field and had four assists, four steals and three rebounds.