OMAHA, Neb. — Le'Bryan Nash stared at his feet, unable to speak. His teammate, Anthony Hickey, patted him gently on the back. Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford gave him an encouraging nod.
The senior forward had just wrapped up his memorable Oklahoma State career with 18 points in a 79-73 loss to eighth-seeded Oregon in the NCAA Tournament, but all Nash could think about Friday night were his seven turnovers that contributed to the defeat.
"Just looking back on what I could have done in that game. I'm not thinking about the rest," he said. "Turnovers killed me. It would have been a different ballgame."
Perhaps not, the way Joseph Young and the Ducks were scoring.
The Pac-12 player of the year had 27 points, going on a personal 15-3 run late in the first half. Elgin Cook added 18 points and Dillon Brooks finished with 17 as Oregon (26-9) gave Dana Altman a win in his return to Omaha, where he once coached Creighton.
Up next for Oregon is the winner of top-seeded Wisconsin and Coastal Carolina.
"We have a lot of guys who have made contributions," Altman said, "but Joe and Elgin are our one-two punch most nights. And down the stretch, since we've been playing better in February and March, it has been those two guys leading us."
It has been one guy leading Oklahoma State (18-14) for quite a while.
Sure, Hickey scored 17 points in his NCAA Tournament debut, and Phil Forte and Tavarius Shine each had 12. But it was Nash who helped get the Cowboys get into the tournament in the first place, and then kept them close when Oregon kept going on runs.
He concluded his career with 1,839 points, fourth-most in school history.
"He knows he's a big reason we're sitting here, the career he's had," Ford said. "It's an unbelievable career. He'll go down as one of the great Oklahoma State basketball players."
Young may do the same at Oregon.
Oklahoma State actually did a good job of keeping Young in check most of the first half, denying him the ball and then clamping down when he finally got it. But when they loosened up just before the break, Young went on a roll.
He started by draining a 3-pointer with 4:08 remaining, and then hit another one from well beyond the arc. Young added two free throws, another 3-pointer, an 18-foot jumper and then was fouled with 2.2 seconds left, converting both of those foul shots.
Suddenly, the high-scoring senior guard had gone on a personal 15-3 run, digging the Ducks out of a 36-28 hole and giving them a 43-39 advantage at the break.
"You can't give him any space," Forte said. "He'll make you pay for it."
Young's biggest highlight may have come early in the second half. The 6-foot-2 guard raced ahead in transition, gathered in a pass and threw down a dunk over Hickey before crashing to the floor — no doubt impressing his father, Michael, a member of Houston's Phi Slama Jama.
Oklahoma State responded with a spurt of its own, regaining the lead on Hickey's 3-pointer midway through the second half. But the Ducks still had another run in them, this time with everybody but Young getting into the act. By the time Dwayne Benjamin stripped Nash and coasted in for a dunk, the 11-0 spurt had given the Pac-12 runner-ups a 70-62 lead with 6:40 left.
The Cowboys trimmed their deficit to 70-69 a few minutes later, but Brooks added another 3-pointer, Jordan Bell added a dunk and the Ducks put the game away from the foul line.
"We got outplayed," Ford said. "They're a very, very good offensive team."