Marcus Smart scores 30 as No. 5 Oklahoma State downs Purdue

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Orlando, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Oklahoma State built a commanding first-half lead but had to weather Purdue’s furious second-half comeback en route to a 97-87 win in the first round of the Old Spice Classic Thursday at HP Field House.

Marcus Smart scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half to give the No. 5 Cowboys a 23-point lead at the break but sat most of the second half due to foul trouble, allowing the Boilermakers to cut the lead to four.

Markel Brown added 25 points, Le’Bryan Nash had 16 and Phil Forte and Brian Williams scored 10 points apiece as the Cowboys improved to 6-0.

Bryson Scott scored 18 points. Errick Peck had 12 while Kendall Stephens, Ronnie Johnson and Terone Johnson added 10 points each for the Boilermakers (5-1).

Smart, the defending Big 12 Player of the Year, not make a field goal in the first nine minutes but ended the opening half with four 3-pointers as Oklahoma State built a 52-29 halftime lead.

However, Smart went to the bench with 11:23 left after picking up his third foul on defense and his fourth on a technical for arguing the call.

Purdue took advantage of his absence behind Ronnie Johnson, who scored 10 second-half points before fouling out due to a double-technical with 6:23 to play.

Freshman guard Kendall Stephens scored five points over two consecutive possessions — including a 3 with 3:14 left — to cut the Cowboys lead to 84-80.

Smart returned to the game with 1:42 left and led a 10-4 run to give Oklahoma State a 10-point lead with 36 seconds remaining.

The Cowboys will take on either Butler or Washington State in the second round Friday.

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