LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Marcus Smart scored 17 points as No. 5 Oklahoma State survived a major…
FINAL: Oklahoma State 69 - Butler 67
After the two teams combined to miss six of seven free throws in the game's final 49 seconds, Butler's Elijah Brown went racing down the right-hand side of the court and let loose a desperation attempt from 27 feet, only to see the Cowboys' Michael Cobbins swat his offering into the stands.
Before the ball ever landed, Oklahoma State had secured a narrow 69-67 win in HP Field House.
Marcus Smart finished with a game-high 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting while Le'Bryan Nash was a handful in the post, with 16 points and five rebounds. Brown paced the Bulldogs in scoring, with 15 points, while guard Alex Barlow and forward Kameron Woods each contributed 12 points.
For the game to be as close as it was near the end, it took a scoring flurry from Butler, who came storming back after the break from a 44-30 halftime deficit. Ultimately, it wasn't enough, as the Bulldogs dropped their first game of the 2013-14 campaign.
Oklahoma State advanced to the championship game of the Old Spice Classic, to be contested Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, while Butler will finish its time in central Florida in the third-place game Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
THREE-POINT PLAY: OKLAHOMA STATE
- Coach Travis Ford: "In the second half we weren't scoring quite as much. Our offense was hurting our defense. We were taking questionable shots at the time, and we ended up having to defend for 20-25 seconds and play offense for 10 seconds. That's a bad ratio … Sometimes when you have a big lead against an opponent, you (have a tendency to) want the game to be over. You want that game to last forever."
- Ford on guarding Butler's Kellen Dunham: "I was extremely pleased. He made a tough shot late on the and-one. The play right before that I didn't think was great defense. We had one other breakdown in the first half. Other than that I thought we did a tremendous job on him."
- Le'Bryan Nash on his game/outlook when realizing Butler would use guards to defend him: "It's just me staying focused. Every time I get to go in the gym I try to work on my post game because I've been getting a lot of smaller matchups on me lately. The biggest thing for me is finishing around the rim … You could see my face, I just started smiling when I saw that. I just wanted to bully them then and take it to the rim."
THREE-POINT PLAY: BUTLER
- Coach Brandon Miller: "My first initial thought is Oklahoma State is a heckuva basketball team. Watching them on film, preparing for them, they're obviously very talented. When you have one of the best players in the country and the way he fights and leads his team, he sets the standard for his team and they've been really consistent."
- Alex Barlow on difference offensively in second half: "I think we played a little bit better with more pace. We passed the ball side-to-side, made them defend, and hit some outside shots. We had more energy, too, and got more second-chance points."
- Miller on missed free throws late: "It's always tough to lose. When you lose, and it's a one- or two-point game, sometimes you can beat yourself up over one mistake here or there, especially at the end of the game. Sometimes that gets highlighted more than it should. Basketball is a 40-minute game. We didn't execute at the beginning of the game. That's what got us. For them to have 14 second-chance points at the beginning of the game, that hurt us. We couldn't do enough in the second half to overcome our first half.
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