Marcus Smart got a small measure of revenge on Saturday, as he dropped a double-double on Texas Tech, helping Oklahoma State to a 84-62 win in Stillwater, Okla.
The sophomore guard finished with 16 points and 10 assists. It was his fourth double-double of the season and sixth of his career.
The 10 assists are his single-game best since arriving in Stillwater, per ESPN Stats and Info:
Marcus Smart had a career-high 10 assists in his 1st game back from suspension. Oklahoma State beats Texas Tech, 84-62.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 22, 2014
The performance was enough for Smart to receive a standing ovation from the crowd in Gallagher-Iba Arena:
Standing ovation as Marcus Smart exits the game with 1:07 left. 16 points, 10 assists, six steals, two blocks. #okstate— OSU Basketball (@OSUMBB) February 22, 2014
This was Smart's first game back since getting suspended for three games after shoving Tech fan Jeff Orr when the Cowboys and Red Raiders met in Lubbock, Texas, earlier in the month. There's little doubt that he wanted to send a message on Saturday afternoon.
After the game, Smart reiterated how much he was dying to get back on the court and put this entire situation behind him, per the Cowboys' official site:
It felt good. Those three games felt like years or months to me. It was crazy being at practice with these guys and they would travel and say, "Alright we’ll see you when we get back." I felt lost because I was so used to traveling with the guys. They did well and gave it (their) all. Unfortunately, the results didn’t come out the way we wanted without me, but coming back and being able to be with my team feels amazing.
Will Oklahoma State make the NCAA tournament?
The timing of Smart's return couldn't be any better. Coming into Saturday, Oklahoma State was riding a seven-game losing streak. On Jan. 18, when the Cowboys took on Kansas, they were ranked ninth in the country.
As a result of that losing streak, OK State has fallen out of the tournament picture. There's a lot of work to be done over the rest of the regular season and Big 12 tournament should Oklahoma State still be clinging to any hopes of making the Big Dance.
With their leading scorer and best player back in the fold, the Cowboys are in a great position for a late-season run.