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December 18, 2013

Final Thoughts: OSU 75, DSU 43

As expected, Oklahoma State took care of business Saturday night against the Delaware State Hornets with a 75-43 win, improving to 10-1 on the year. Offensively the Cowboys got off to another slow start in the 1st half, but would come out of the gate early in the 2nd half to blow out the Hornets. With another W under the belt, the Cowboys will look now to Saturday's matchup against Colorado, their 3rd top 25 game of the season.

• The offensive production of the Cowboys has definitely slowed down since the start of the season. Up through the game against Purdue the Cowboys were averaging 99.7 points per game, but since then OSU is only averaging 73.2 points per game (86.5 for the year). 3 point shooting may be the cause of the low scoring output. Tonight the Cowboys were 6-23 (26.1%) from 3-point range, their 2nd lowest percentage of the season. Phil Forte struggled all night shooting a rough 2-12 from the field and just 10% from 3-point range. The good news for the Cowboys is that their defense has been consistent all year, only allowing 70 or more points 3 times in 2 games. This season the Cowboys are allowing just 62.6 points per game.

If OSU is only going to have one constant part of its game then it is a good thing it is their defense. As good as the defense is playing though they won't be able to bail out the production of the offense all season long. The offense did show up in the 2nd half, but for OSU to beat good teams and go far in March, they're going to need to be present for all 40 minutes of a game.

• It seems like it is a trend lately for OSU to only show up for just one half. You will see the OSU team like in the 1st half tonight who just can't make a shot to save their life, then you will see the OSU team like in the 2nd half, who's up by 30 and still draining 3-pointers. The ability to be constant in a full game has been this team's weakness not just this season, but in past seasons. Starting in the Old Spice Classic OSU would look strong in the 1st half and then look lost in the 2nd, and that way of play cost them the Old Spice Championship game. As of late the Cowboys are getting off to slow starts, but coming out of the half strong. If you're going to only play well one half, I guess it's better to finish strong in the 2nd half than to almost collapse at the end of the game. Like I mentioned before though, the best teams will be able to play great basketball from start to finish. If OSU wants to make a run this season they're going to have to keep their focus for a full 40 minutes.

• Coming into this game Delaware State was only averaging just 29 rebounds per game, yet they managed to rack up 34 rebounds and lost the rebounding battle to Oklahoma State by only 5 boards. Delaware State big man Kendall Gray lead the game in rebounds with 11, with 6 of those being offensive rebounds. There really is no excuse for the Cowboys to be bullied on the boards against a team like Delaware State, who coming into this game was ranked 347th in rebounds per game. Sure some of the rebounds may have happened during garbage time, but not all 34 of them. I saw it in tonight's game and it their game against Louisiana Tech. OSU will get in good position for the rebound, but they wait for the ball to come to them. As a team the Cowboys need to be aggressive and go after the ball and not just wait on the rebound. OSU is very capable of being a good rebounding team because they have shown it this season by outrebounding teams that on paper should be the better rebounding team. Delaware State isn't a good scoring team at all, but OSU is going to face teams that can score, and you don't want to give a good scoring team any 2nd chance opportunities.

• Bryndon Manzer said it best tonight in regards to how well Le'Bryan Nash is playing as of late. Although he's averaging just about the same amount of points he has been in his past two seasons at OSU, he is shooting at a much higher percentage than his first two years. Manzer mentioned that Nash has become more efficient as a player and I could not agree more. Watching him in his 3rd year now, it really is refreshing to see Nash settle in and do his part for the team. Tonight he was 6-9 from the field and led the Cowboys in scoring and rebounds. With another Top 25 matchup on Saturday and conference play just around the corner I really look forward to seeing if Nash continues to play efficiently. I think if he can keep this up he will be a huge factor in OSU's success in conference play and beyond.

• Going back to the OSU defense the Cowboys really filled up the stat sheet on the defensive side tonight. The team finished with 9 steals and 10 blocks and the Hornets finished with 16 total turnovers. Really isn't much to these numbers except to just acknowledge how impressive those stats are for a single game. Six OSU players had a steal and 5 OSU players had a block. An overall strong performance by OSU on defense.

• Something I've noticed about OSU this season is that even when it gets up by 20 points or more, they continue to keep their foot on the pedal. At one point the Cowboys were up by 33 points, but they were shooting 3-pointers like they were down by 33. I guess there really isn't anything wrong with this, it just is kind of surprising to watch a team in complete control of a game, shooting like they're about to be eliminated from the postseason. I rather see them playing to win all game rather than playing to not lose though.

• I have this really bad feeling that OSU is going to lose a game or two this season because of free throw shooting. Tonight they were 17-24, which really isn't that bad, but as much as they go to the free throw line per game, they really need to take advantage of all the attempts they earn. OSU has attempted 324 (29.5 attempts per game) free throws this season compared to their opponents total of 228, but is only shooting 72.2% from the free throw line. Maybe I constantly harp on free throw shooting because we've been spoiled with a pro basketball team who has been the best free throw shooting team in the NBA for the last few years, but free throws are the easiest shots you can take in a basketball game. As much as OSU goes to the free throw line they really need to take advantage of those free points.

• I know I've discussed mostly concerns regarding the game tonight, but it's mainly because there wasn't much to this game than looking at what needs to be improved. OSU is a far superior team compared to Delaware State and I can't think of scenario where the Hornets beat them. One thing I give credit to the Cowboys for this season is that in games where they should take care of business they have done so in every game. The only scares they have had all season were against Purdue and Butler, but I don't consider those games where they should just come in and roll the opposition. Hats off the Cowboys for taking care of business and not slipping up to inferior teams.

The Cowboys can now look ahead to their matchup against the 20th ranked Colorado Buffaloes. Their matchup will take place Saturday night in the MGM Grand Arena at 10:30 PM.


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