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Pain County: OSU Drops 3OT Heartbreaker To ISU

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

They say bad things come in threes.

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in Stillwater who would disagree with that line of thinking after the Monday that Oklahoma State just had.

The day began with freshman guard Stevie Clark's dismissal after his third off-the-court strike. Then OSU ended the day by losing its third consecutive game – and it lost in a triple overtime heartbreaker.

While it might sound poetic, this is definitely filed in the ‘tragedy' section for the orange-clad faithful.

Oklahoma State's recent free fall continued and this one was the most gut-wrenching to date, as Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash both came up short on potential game-winning shots in the final five seconds, allowing No. 16 Iowa State to escape Gallagher-Iba Arena with its first victory since 1988 on Eddie Sutton Night of all nights.

And escape is the operative word.

No. 19 OSU owned leads late in regulation, the second overtime and the final OT and also had a chance to take the lead in the first overtime, but failed to create separation or come up with clutch plays to put away a struggling Cyclone team.

OSU took a 75-74 lead with 1:05 left in regulation on a pair of Markel Brown free throws, but Iowa State's Melvin Ejim was able to draw a foul of his own, where he connected on 1-of-2 free throws to knot up the game, eventually sending it to OT after a pair of missed jumpers from both teams in the final seconds.

Then in the first overtime, Brian Williams hit the front end of a pair of free throws but missed the potential go-ahead second attempt with 28 seconds left. OSU was then saved by a come-from-behind block by Brown on a driving Monte Morris with four seconds left to force overtime No. 2.

In the second OT, Nash put OSU ahead by one with 1:51 remaining and then put the Pokes up three on the next possession on a contested layup. Oklahoma State then tried to run down the clock on its next possession but Brown came up wide on a potential game-clinching jumper with 17 seconds left on an extremely questionable play. It proved costly.

After a missed 3, ISU recovered a long rebound and worked the ball around to find an open Naz Long, who buried a cold-blooded 3-pointer on the second-chance opportunity with 1.4 seconds remaining to force a third overtime.

Then, in the final extra period, Nash again gave the Cowboys a late lead on a physical baseline layup to put the Pokes up 95-93 with 1:27 remaining. Things got a little crazy from there.

Morris countered with a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left to put the Cyclones up one and Long put down a pair of from the charity stripe with 20 seconds left to hand ISU a three-point advantage.

Brown then converted on a driving slam after ISU over committed to stopping the 3-point shot, setting up what seemed destined for an instant foul on the inbounds to send Iowa State to the line. However, it appeared fans were about to be treated to a little Gallagher-Iba magic.

Brian Williams reached around on the inbound pass and knocked the ball off Long to give the Cowboys the ball with 12 seconds to play and a chance at an emotional victory on Eddie Sutton Night.

It didn't happen.

Marcus Smart missed an awkward, forced fadeaway with four seconds left that was promptly rebounded by ISU but Nash flew into the play to force a tie-ball with the possession in Oklahoma State's favor with 1.9 seconds left. Nash took the inbound pass and was forced into a tough baseline fadeaway that clanged off the front of the rim.

Ball game.

It was certainly the best the Cowboys (16-6, 4-5 Big 12) have played in the past few weeks but the end result was the same, as OSU dropped its third-straight game and fourth in its past five. The preseason Big 12 co-favorites now sit a game below .500 in the conference standings at the midway point in the league slate.

ISU on the other hand won for the third time in its past four outings to climb to 5-4 in the Big 12 and 17-4 overall.

It was a shame Nash couldn't come up with the game winner because he did pretty much everything else for OSU. The 6-foot-7 junior tied for game-high scoring honors with 26 points and he did it on an efficient, physcial 10-of-20 from the field and cashed in on 6-of-7 opportunities at the foul line.

Nash also pulled down 10 rebounds, dished out five assists and had a pair of blocks and steals in a dominant performance. The Oklahoma State offense went through Nash much of the night and functioned far better than it has in recent outings.

Smart struggled from the field again on 6-of-14 shooting but managed to put up 20 points and seven rebounds. He scored 19 of his points after halftime.

Brown scored 19 points and pulled in 10 rebounds, while Williams turned in a season-best performance with 15 points and six boards.

DeAndre Kane led the Cyclones with 26 points and nine boards, and Melvin Ejim chipped in 22 points and 13 rebounds.

OSU outshot the Cyclones 48.6 percent to 43.6 but ISU leveled the playing field by hitting 10 3's to OSU's four and also owned a 14-4 edge in fastbreak points in a game that featured 12 ties and 10 lead changes.

Oklahoma State will attempt to get back on track on Saturday when it travels to Lubbock to face Texas Tech at 8:30 p.m.

 

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