January 9, 2013
Cowboys survive turnovers to cage the Horned Frogs 63-45
Oklahoma State broke out of their two-game losing streak with a 63-45 win over the TCU Horned Frogs on Wednesday evening in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Though the score tells one story, there's more to it in this one. The Cowboys looked like a shell of the team we saw earlier in the season at times, though they seem to have started figuring out solutions for some of the problems that led to dropping their last two.
In this one, we saw Le'Bryan Nash break out of a slump, as well as Marcus Smart shoot a perfect 5/5 from the floor, but as is every game, there's always some bad and ugly to go with the good. Let's break it down.
The Good: The Big Three
Can we call them that yet? Oklahoma State has a good thing going with Nash, Smart and Markel Brown this season. The trio combined for 41 points, 10 assists, and 13 rebounds in the win over TCU, and when the Horned Frogs would slow one of them down, another would simply step up. Outside of the three, Philip Jurick had a strong showing, pulling down 10 rebounds and adding 6 points with it while Michael Cobbins added in 7 points and 4 rebounds as he continues his recovery from the fractured foot he suffered earlier this season.
The Bad: Phil Forte and Gallagher-Iba Arena
This isn't me saying Forte played bad at all, just that he wasn't where he usually is shooting the ball. Forte averages around 10 points a game, and though he contributed 5 tonight, he just didn't have the stroke he usually does. It was a weaker TCU team they were playing, so they didn't necessarily need him, but if he played like that against a legitimate opponent, the Pokes would've been in trouble. He finished 1/7 from the field and 1/5 from three-point range, although his hustle was there as it always is. Kind of misleading to put him in the "bad" category, but his shooting wasn't all that tonight.
As far as Gallagher-Iba Arena goes, it was actually a decent crowd tonight (Stat sheet says 7,500, but I'd guess it was a little bit less than that). So why is it under the "bad" section? Because they struggled to produce anything you'd even consider remotely close to "noise". If you're a citizen of GIA, you've got to step it up. Embarrassing showing.
The Ugly: Turnovers and Intensity
This is my only knock on Nash for this game. He had five turnovers tonight, something that can't happen from the guy who's supposed to be either the best or second-best player on your team. Along with him, Kamari Murphy had 6 turnovers, while Jurick, Brown and Smart combined for 11. All in all, the Pokes hit the finish line with a total of 24 giveaways. It was a sloppy game (TCU turned it over 21 times) but an elite team can't play down to their competition like that if they want to remain an elite team.
For intensity, it wasn't a huge thing in this game, but at times Oklahoma State relaxed on the defensive end of the floor. That allowed TCU to shoot 40% in the second half, which translates into a much bigger number when you're playing a better team. My biggest fear for this team all season has been how they play when Smart grabs a breather, and when OSU gives up game-changing plays, it's usually because Smart stepped out for a few minutes. That was the case tonight, as TCU hit 4 of their 7 threes in the second half. Ford has to figure out a way to keep those guys locked in when he takes his best player off of the court.
Oklahoma State visits the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game is set to be televised on ESPN2
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