STILLWATER, Okla. – After its fastest start of the season, Oklahoma State didn’t need much of a second half to knock Harvard out of the NIT.
The third-seeded Cowboys scored a season-high 41 points in the first half on the way to a 71-54 victory Tuesday night behind 18 points and eight rebounds from forward Marshall Moses.
“Our guys were ready,” Moses said. “Everybody was on the same page and wanted to win.”
Reger Dowell went 6 for 7 from the field and scored 15 points and Matt Pilgrim added 12 as six Cowboys scored six or more points.
Oklahoma State (20-13) took a 14-point lead into halftime thanks to a 14-4 run midway through the first half.
“I was just excited the way they came out,” said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, who thought his team was the most excited it’s been all season. “I wasn’t quite sure exactly how they were going to come out. I was watching them in pregame talk and I thought they were ready. How we started the game, I felt very good from that point. I felt we were ready to play.”
Junior Keiton Page, who finished with eight points, hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to start the spurt and Roger Franklin capped it with a jump shot from the baseline. The Cowboys held Harvard (23-7) to one basket during the 4-minute stretch.
“I was very impressed with their quickness and their speed,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “It certainly knocked us back on our heels early.”
Kyle Casey led the sixth-seeded Crimson – making their first NIT appearance – with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Ivy League player of the year Keith Wright scored 10 points. Laurent Rivard added 10 off the bench for Harvard, which totaled its fewest points since scoring 52 in a loss to Connecticut on Dec. 22, 2010.
Oklahoma State, which won its 32nd consecutive nonconference home game, will play the winner of tonight’s game between No. 2 Washington State and No. 7 Long Beach State.
The higher seed will host the second-round game.