January 30, 2013
Cowboys pull out a 78-76 win against Iowa State
It was a wild one in Stillwater on Wednesday night, but the Pokes held on to beat Iowa State 78-76 to move to 14-5 on the year and 4-3 in Big 12 play.
Five Cowboys posted double-digit points in the win, and Marcus Smart hit a game-winning layup with just over 3 seconds remaining in the game to all but seal the much-needed victory to keep Oklahoma State in the Big 12 hunt.
Let's break down the game.
The Good: Offense, timely defense, Brian Williams' return
Oklahoma State's offense has looked life-support-ish at times this year, but tonight it was wheeling and dealing just like everyone expected it to coming into the season. Smart, Le'Bryan Nash, Phil Forte, Markel Brown and Michael Cobbins all made major, double-digit contributions to the point department, and the ball movement kept Iowa State's defense open to giving up driving lanes.
On the flip side, the defense wasn't exactly great tonight (addressed later), but when the Cowboys needed a stop, they came through. It started with a Forte steal, which he took to the other end and drew a foul to grab two points at the free throw line. Then, as the game came down to the wire, an Iowa State player drove the lane against Nash, who's usually a suspect defender, but the sophomore hung in there and forced a shot alteration and ultimately a miss. They don't necessarily have to do that every time down the floor, but when they had to have a stop, they made it count.
Also, Williams returned to the floor tonight after injuring his wrist in preseason practice. He didn't have much in the tank, as Ford commented on in postgame saying "His offensive rhythm isn't there at all," but he provided big minutes during the game to give Nash and Brown a rest as the team moved closer and closer to the stretch.
The Bad: Closeout defense
In postgame, Ford wasn't that happy with his defense, as Iowa State hit a whopping 13 of their 24 threes in the game. Part of that was due to them being ridiculously hot, and I want to say that it was just their night.
Problem is, I can't.
This has happened to OSU a lot this season, most notably against Oklahoma and Kansas State, and I honestly don't know how to explain this one as fully as I can. On the defensive end, it's kind of a "pick your poison" situation. If you place emphasis on protecting the lane and sagging your defense, you leave yourself open to three-point attempts. If you protect against the three-point shot, you open driving lanes (as you saw Iowa State do tonight). As I said, pick your poison on this one, but I'd tend to move towards protecting the lane and closing out on shots at the three-point line as fast as I can. Not necessarily bad, I guess, just not an ideal situation.
The Ugly: The Crowd, Officiating
This was probably the best student section Gallagher-Iba has had all season, but once again the mid and upper-levels were pretty empty. I won't harp on it, but I'm not going to ignore it either.
Officiating was horrible tonight in crunch-time. If you watched the game, you know what I mean. If you didn't, get on Twitter and you'll understand. When the last three (THREE!) seconds of the game take over ten minutes, you've got issues. Absolutely terrible.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys travel to Lawrence, Kansas to face the Jayhawks on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.
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