DAILY DISH: Oklahoma State pounds N.C. State, Quinnipiac takes UConn to double overtime

By: Kels Dayton

Freshman Marcus Smart could be on the verge of a breakout season for Oklahoma State. (AP Photo)

Oklahoma State destroyed No. 6 NC State, 76-56, in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic in what might be the most surprising result of the young season. The Cowboys got 20 points and 7 assists from freshman point guard Marcus Smart, who severely outplayed preseason all-ACC selection Lorenzo Brown (6 points, 1 assist). Smart was fantastic, earning Tournament MVP honors. The former McDonald’s All-American could be on the verge of a big year in Stillwater. Sophomore Le’Bryan Nash was also outstanding on Sunday, putting up 23 points and 8 rebounds.

It’ll be back to the drawing board for the Wolfpack, who were putrid offensively and allowed OK State to dominate every facet of the proceedings. A lot was expected from C.J. Leslie this season, but the 6-8 forward was nonexistent in this game, shooting just 1-for-5 and putting up a mere 6 points. Scott Wood shot 1-for-11, and Lorenzo Brown went 2-for-9.

The Wolfpack were a trendy Final Four pick before the season, but they aren’t going to come anywhere close to reaching those heights if they play like they did Sunday.

Saint Joseph’s is off to a good start in its quest for the program’s best season since that magical 2004 campaign. The Hawks consider themselves Atlantic 10 title contenders, and it’s hard to argue after the way played in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn. St. Joe’s knocked off 20th-ranked Notre Dame, 79-70, behind 21 points and 16 boards from 6-8 forward Ronald Roberts, Jr., who looks like a potential A-10 Player of the Year candidate. Roberts is averaging 15.3 points and 13 boards per game.  The Hawks then lost a hard-fought 73-66 decision to Florida State in the final. Five Hawks are averaging in double figures, and junior forward C.J. Aiken has the potential to become one of the better players in the  league.

Quinnipiac took No. 23 UConn into double overtime  in a stunningly competitive semifinal game in the Paradise Jam on Sunday. While the Bobcats have been steadily improving under head coach Tom Moore, it was incredible to watch one of Connecticut’s other college basketball programs go toe-to-toe with the Huskies. QU dominated the glass, outrebounding the Huskies 39-29. Quinnipiac even led by 10 with 4:56 to go, but couldn’t overcome a late-game surge from Ryan Boatright, who scored 11 points down the stretch in regulation, and  Shabazz Napier, who put up 29 points.

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