STILLWATER, Okla. — An already depleted Oklahoma State roster took another blow Wednesday when Le'Bryan Nash was lost for the season due to injury.
Nash, the Big 12's top-scoring freshman, was averaging 13.3 points per game.
Even before last week, coach Travis Ford was using an all-hands-on-deck philosophy. On Saturday, in a 60-42 victory over Texas A&M, that was the case again.
Three players — Keiton Page, Markel Brown and Brian Williams — played at least 35 minutes each for the Cowboys (14-15, 7-9 Big 12). Michael Cobbins and Philip Jurick combined for 55 minutes on the floor. Only two others, freshmen Cezar Guerrero and Marek Soucek, played more than 14 minutes.
“We just want to show people that even if we are down one, we can still compete,” said Cobbins, a 6-foot-8 redshirt freshman. “We need everybody to step it up a level and fill in (Nash's) shoes.”
Williams led the Cowboys with 17 points. Page scored 15 and Brown 12. Cobbins, Guerrero, Soucek and Jurick combined for 16 points and 19 rebounds.
“I'm very proud of our team for being able to come together the last couple of days and kind of respond from another injury,” said Ford. “We've just challenged our guys the last couple of days from Keiton Page on down to Christien Sager and (Cezar) Guerrero, and all of them in between.”
Soucek, a 7-foot freshman from the Czech Republic, entered Saturday averaging less than 6 minutes per game. He played 7 minutes in the first half, contributing a baseline jumper, drawing an offensive foul and assisting on a 3-pointer by Williams within a 5-minute stretch. Soucek finished with four points and two rebounds.
“I just told them that everybody is going to have to do something more,” said Ford. “It doesn't have to be scoring. For us, 15 points is a lot of points, but it may be screening better, it may be rebounding better, it may be defending better.”
Williams, who entered Saturday averaging 8.2 points per game, said: “This was one of those nights where everything was clicking. We were making shots, and everything was going well.”
The struggles continued for A&M (13-15, 4-12), which was picked with Kansas in the preseason to challenge for top league honors. The loss was the Aggies’ seventh in their last eight games dating to a 76-61 win over Oklahoma State on Jan. 29 in College Station.
Trailing 29-26 at halftime, the Aggies scored just 16 second-half points, losing to Oklahoma State for the first time in four games. The conference's lowest-scoring team finished 19 points under its season average of 61.3.
“Not taking anything away from Oklahoma State — they did a lot of good things — but we were just terrible,” said first-year A&M coach Billy Kennedy. “Bad effort, practices hadn't been good and the ball stunk. We were selfish offensively, and we were stealing money from the university. I apologize to Texas A&M University and our fans.”
Khris Middleton, still recovering from an injury that sidelined him seven games, and David Loubeau were the only Aggies to score in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively. A&M was 4 of 17 from 3-point range and hit 32 percent from the floor. Elston Turner, the squad's leading scorer at 14.1 points per game, totaled six points on 2 of 8 shooting.
Barring a charge to the Big 12 tournament title, a run of six straight NCAA tournament appearances will end for the Aggies.
“We've been worse since we've gotten guys back, offensively,” said Kennedy. “That happens with injuries. When you bring buys back, the chemistry goes another direction. I could see it coming three weeks ago, but fortunately we were able to weather the storm.”
Oklahoma State will take its three-game home winning streak into Monday night's meeting with Kansas.