Bayamon, PR – Le'Bryan Nash poured in a game-high 23 points, including 13-for-13 from the free throw line, as Oklahoma State blasted the sixth-ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack, 76-56, in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship game.
Nash added eight rebounds and Marcus Smart contributed 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor to go with seven rebounds and seven assists for the Cowboys (4-0). Phil Forte contributed 17 points off the bench in the victory.
Rodney Purvis led the Wolfpack (3-1) with 16 points, while T.J. Warren added 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the loss. Standout junior C.J. Leslie struggled, scoring just two points on the night after picking up three first- half fouls en route to fouling out.
"You got to give Oklahoma State credit. I thought they played pretty well. That was as poor a performance as we have had in a long time," North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said. "I'm not sure we did a lot of things well. We came out casual and, like in a prize fight, they took it to us."
Oklahoma State had the better of the play for the majority of the first 20 minutes as the Cowboys jumped out to an early 16-9 lead with 11:43 left in the half.
A jumper by Purvis ignited six straight points from the Wolfpack to make it a one-point game at 16-15, but Oklahoma State used a 12-2 surge to expand the advantage to 28-17 with 4:59 left.
Purvis drained a three to pull NC State within six, but the Cowboys held a 38-28 lead at halftime.
NC State never threatened in the second half, as a deep trey by Forte with just over seven minutes to play widened the Oklahoma State margin to 65-45.
The Cowboys maxed out their lead at 21 and were on cruise control the rest of the way.
"The way we started the game was the difference. We played with a high level of intensity, playing above the rim and taking them out the areas where they like to score," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said.
The only previous meeting between these two teams also took place in the NCAA Tournament back in 1991 as the Cowboys delivered a 73-64 win ... North Carolina State shot just 35.5 percent from the floor and 4-of-14 from three- point range.