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Oklahoma State Basketball

Tyreek Smith Is Starting to Peak at the Right Time for Oklahoma State

March 20, 2023
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STILLWATER – There’s no question the end of the regular season for Oklahoma State rough. There’s no question missing out on the NCAA tournament and having to play in the NIT is rough. However, there’s also no question the Cowboys wouldn’t be here without Tyreek Smith, and I mean that in best way in every sense.

The Cowboys don’t beat Texas Tech on the road in Lubbock to keep their tournament hopes alive without Smith’s 11 points and five rebounds, and they don’t be Oklahoma for the third time this season without his seven points and 14 rebounds to keep their tournament hopes alive.

Smith, nor anyone else for that matter, really mattered in the performance against Texas, the very team who went on to win the Big 12 tournament and is currently in the Sweet 16 to face Xavier on Friday, March 24.

Fast forward a few days after the Cowboys weren’t announced during Selection Sunday and they’re not getting past Youngstown State in the opening round of the NIT without Smith’s first-career double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.

While Bryce Thompson rolled to one of his best performances of the season on Sunday with 22 points against Eastern Washington, Smith was equally as important as he finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, the second double-double of his career and in as many games.

"Tyreek has always had this ability,” Mike Boynton said after the EWU game. “You know, it's part of the evolution of our team, so to speak, that there's been so many changes and a lot of it has affected him probably more than anybody in terms of in and out of the lineup. But I always knew that what he takes pride in is something that is really beneficial to us. But when you need shooting on the floor, and if Kalib [Boone] is playing well, then he doesn't bring that to the table, right? There's been games that we've needed shooting out there to space the floor because Boone was playing well inside you wanted to play through him, which makes it a little bit more difficult. So, I really admire that kid though, because regardless of whether he was playing 32 minutes like he did today, or if he was playing eight minutes like he's done in some of the Big 12 games, his attitude has been the same. He's all about winning and we're thankful to have him."

There’s no question this has been a rather difficult season for Smith. Going into this season, based on how he finished the 2021-22 season, he was going to be one of the main pieces on this roster. But Kalib Boone came out of the gates hot and played quite well for a good portion of the season.

When Moussa Cisse went down, I’m sure Smith thought he was the next guy in line. That spot, however, went to Woody Newton. Smith’s played spot duty throughout the season, including some decent minutes in a handful of games. But he’s cleared at least 20 minutes just 10 times and 30 minutes just twice, both of which have come in the last two games.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” Smith said after the EWU game. “I’m thankful coach is letting me get these minutes that I’m getting, and I can help my team win. I’m just having a lot of fun.”

Smith said a few times in the postgame press conference that’s he’s having fun. Two-straight double-doubles and four wins in five games because he’s combined for 44 points and 44 rebounds, along with four blocks, certainly seems like a lot of fun.

“It’s been exciting, everybody’s been telling me good job, but really, I’m just having fun,” Smith said of his second-straight double-double. “I’m just playing my game the best I can play, helping my teammates win, just having fun.”

Reek’s gonna get a chance to continue his hot play on Tuesday as the Pokes play host to North Texas at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

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Tyreek Smith Is Starting to Peak at the Right Time for Oklahoma State

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