Tigers Embarrassed By Oklahoma State
Smart scored a career-high 39 points and No. 7 Oklahoma State raced past No. 11 Memphis for a 101-80 win on Tuesday night in a one-sided matchup of top teams.
Smart, who bypassed the NBA draft after last season’s early exit from the NCAA tournament, had 26 points in the first half and finished with five 3-pointers.
The sophomore was 11 of 21 from the floor — easily topping his previous career high of 28 points, which he set last season against Oklahoma.
Markel Brown added 20 points and Brian Williams 15 for Oklahoma State (4-0).
Nick King had 23 points for Memphis, and Shaq Goodwin finished with 13. The Tigers (1-1) shot 41.2 percent (28 of 68).
Memphis had played just once before the trip to Stillwater, a 95-69 home win over Austin Peay. And the Tigers appeared to be ill prepared for their first hostile road environment.
More specifically, they weren’t prepared for Smart — who added five steals, four rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks in an outstanding all-around performance.
Surprisingly, Smart didn’t even enter the game as the leading scorer for the Cowboys.
In fact, the sophomore was third on Oklahoma State — behind sixth-man Phil Forte and Brown — with an average of 13.7 points through the team’s opening three blowout victories.
Smart, however, played up to the competition in the Cowboys’ return to the national spotlight after last season’s crushing loss against Oregon in the NCAA tournament.
In front of a host of NBA scouts and Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, Smart scored 12 of the Cowboys’ first 14 points. His last basket during the opening stretch was a dunk on the break that put Oklahoma State ahead 14-7.
The Tigers did their best to stay close, rallying to tie it at 16 after back-to-back baskets by King, but they had no answer for Smart in the first half.
With the Cowboys up 17-16, the 6-foot-4 guard went on a one-man scoring binge that worked the Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd into a frenzy.
Smart scored the next 12 points for Oklahoma State – including three 3-pointers and a trio of free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt — to put the Cowboys up 29-20. In all, he scored 24 of Oklahoma State’s first 29 points.
The Cowboys led 50-32 at halftime and stretched their lead to as many as 34 points in the second half – comfortably answering their first challenge of the season and reminding the country why Smart was a consensus preseason All-American.
Smart’s fifth 3-pointer lifted Oklahoma State to a 64-43 advantage, giving him a career-best 31 points.
It was far from his only highlight of the night.