STILLWATER – The way No. 24 Oklahoma State started out in Sunday’s game, coach Travis Ford hardly recognized his team.
After a quick timeout, the Cowboys were back to their usual selves.
Le’Bryan Nash scored 19 points, Markel Brown had 14 points and eight rebounds and Oklahoma State overcame an early 11-point deficit to beat Central Arkansas 91-63 on Sunday.
The Cowboys (8-1) fell behind 22-11 after 8 minutes but came out of Ford’s timeout and scored the next 13 points to take the lead for good.
“I had seen enough,” Ford said. “The problem was things we haven’t been seeing – the carelessness with the ball and then getting beat off the dribble with no protection. When I saw those things, I knew this is not us. We haven’t seen this. I need to get their attention a little bit.
“We kind of woke up from there.”
Central Arkansas made 10 of its first 15 shots, often quick baskets in transition, before the game turned in the opposite direction.
The Bears missed their next 12 attempts against changing defenses, and Oklahoma State roared back to take the lead when Brown converted a layup while getting fouled and then head-butted the basket support in celebration. He completed the three-point play to make it 24-22 with 6:42 left in the first half.
“They kind of hit us in the mouth,” Brown said. “So we had to respond quickly and get back into the game before it was over.”
The big run still wasn’t done, with the Cowboys continuing on to outscore UCA 23-2 during an 8 1/2-minute stretch when the Bears went without a field goal.
“We’re pretty good in transition when we’re pushing the basketball,” Bears coach Corliss Williamson said. “Once OSU went on a run, it was like we were kind of froze or a little shell-shocked and we stopped attacking on the other end of the court.”
Jordan Harks tied his career high with 16 points and Jarvis Garner added 14 points for Central Arkansas (4-4).
The Bears played with starting point guard LaQuentin Miles, their second-leading scorer, because of a broken hand. Oliver Wells took his place in the lineup but lasted less than 2 minutes before going to the bench with two fouls. Wells ended up with one point, three assists and two turnovers.
“(Miles) just has the ability to do a lot of things. He can rebound the basketball. Defensively, he can get steals, but also he has ability to score the ball well,” Williamson said. “When we went through that scoring drought ... normally in those stretches, he has an opportunity to get a bucket for us here and there to try and help stop their run or give us the momentum.”
Williamson said he thinks Miles will be back for the first week of Southland Conference play in January.
Phil Forte had 12 points and Michael Cobbins and Marcus Smart each scored 10 for Oklahoma State, which racked up a 53-35 rebounding advantage and outscored the Bears 44-26 in the paint.
Nash had a putback, a three-point play and a spinning layup during a 13-4 spurt that put the game away after Central Arkansas closed to 42-33 early in the second half.
“We don’t want to get beat and get nationally exposed for that,” Nash said. “We just came together and played Oklahoma State basketball, played defense and it led to easy baskets.”
Robert Crawford, who had a career-best 39 points in the Bears’ last game, scored 11 on 3-for-10 shooting from 3-point range.