AUSTIN, Texas — Back in Texas for the second time in four days, the Oklahoma State Cowboys had to leave star guard Marcus Smart back home under orders of the Big 12.
Without him, they didn’t have a chance against the No. 19 Texas Longhorns.
Smart served the first of a three-game suspension for shoving a Texas Tech fan and the Longhorns sent the reeling Cowboys to their fifth straight loss, 87-68 Tuesday night, as guard Javan Felix erupted for 27 points and made six of Texas’ 11 3-pointers.
“We’re going through a tough time right now. We’re not down, not blaming anybody else,” Oklahoma State center Kamari Murphy said. “There’s no excuses.”
The Cowboys didn’t have any answers either. Texas stormed through a 54-point first half and had four players score in double figures despite missing leading scorer Jonathan Holmes, who sat out with an ankle injury.
When the teams met in early January, Smart had 24 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a Cowboys victory. Back then, his defense also helped limit Felix and Longhorns guard Isaiah Taylor to 14 total points.
Without the muscular Smart in their face, those two combined for 43 points Tuesday night.
“This has nothing to do with Marcus Smart,” Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “He wasn’t here tonight. We’ve got to play with what we’ve got.”
Le’Bryan Nash scored 23 points to lead the Cowboys (16-8, 4-7).
Sharp-shooting guard Phil Forte, who was Smart’s high-school teammate when they won a Texas state championship on the same court, was just 2-of-7 shooting and never got a chance to open up from long-range. Forward Brian Williams was 0-8 and the Cowboys shot just 36 percent for the game.
Smart still must sit out games against Oklahoma and Baylor before he can return for a rematch with Texas Tech.