Le'Bryan Nash, Terry Henderson

Le’Bryan Nash, No. 11 Oklahoma State overcome awful afternoon for Marcus Smart

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If you’re wondering who it was wearing Marcus Smart’s No. 33 jersey in Gallagher-Iba Arena today, you probably aren’t alone.

Smart played about as poorly as I’ve ever seen him play. He finished with four points, four assists and three turnovers while shooting 1-for-7 from the floor and fouling out. That wasn’t even the worst of it, however. Smart repeatedly lost his cool, getting frustrated with calls that were going against him and the physical beating that he took on Saturday. In the first off, he took his frustrations out by kicking a chair on the bench. In the second half, after getting called for an offensive foul a possession before taking an elbow to the jaw, he walked off the court and could be seen on TV yelling in a back hallway.

Generally speaking, Smart is the guy that keeps his teammates from doing just that. He’s the level-headed presence on the floor that tries to prevent guys from jabbering with opponents or talking to the refs.

And despite the uncharacteristic performance, No. 11 Oklahoma State still managed to knock off West Virginia, 81-75.

The credit goes to Le’Bryan Nash, who finished with a career-high 29 points and nine boards, physically dominating the Mountaineers front line while doing the majority of his damage around the rim. He led five players in double-figures on this night, which is so important for the Pokes moving forward.

This was about as bad of a performance as you will ever seen from Smart at this level. He wasn’t alone, either, as Phil Forte managed to shoot 1-for-9 from three. I know it was at home and I know it was against West Virginia, but Oklahoma State still was able to get the win in this game.

For a team that is already missing their starting center to prove that they can win games when their all-american is struggling is huge.

VIDEO: Monmouth hits a game-winner, Bench Mob member tries to disrobe

King Rice
AP
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Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.

The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.