Make no mistake about it Oklahoma State can score and is one of the league's more streaky teams. Lately the Cowboys have had a bad habit of getting down in games early but that didn't stop KU head coach Bill Self from saying that OSU made him more nervous than any other team in the Big 12 coming in.
KU took control in this one less than five minutes in building a
10-point advantage (14-4) and never saw the lead drop past
double-digits after the 12-minute mark of the first half. The 78-67
victory was KU's 8th straight Big 12 win of the season and puts the
Jayhawks just a half game behind Oklahoma who is now 9-0 this season
after a win against Colorado on Saturday.
Though the start was terrific for KU, it was the finish that left a
poor taste in the head coach's mouth afterwards.
"We just finished the game miserably so the last taste I have in my
mouth is how we finished the game," said Self referring to the last
seven minutes of the game when KU was outscored 23-14. "It was kind of
an efficient win until the last seven minutes or so."
But when Self watches the tape he will likely be pleased with how the
Jayhawks cut off the head of the Cowboy offense by containing Byron Eaton. Eaton was just 2-6 from the field and did have 10 assists but
only contributed eight points. Last season Eaton torched KU for 26
points and repeatedly was able to get to the free throw line. After
penetrating and getting in the lane at will during last season's OSU
61-60 win in Stillwater, this year in the fieldhouse it was a much
different story for the strong senior guard. Eaton was contained thanks
to aggressive ball screen hedging and trapping by Kansas and a terrific
defensive effort by Sherron Collins.
"One thing that we tried to do was to trap Eaton and try to contain
him. Today I did a pretty good job of that and being able to move my
feet and not get those easy fouls that I have in the past," said
sophomore center Cole Aldrich who struggled doing the same type of
thing vs. a smaller Nebraska team.
"His ball screen defense was a lot better today," Self said referring
to the job Aldrich did on hedging and trapping screens. "He did a good
job getting out there helping Sherron contain Eaton on ball screen
defense. Which if you watch last year's game that's exactly how they
"He's a good guard. You can't take anything away from him," said
Collins. "Today wasn't one of his good days. I think I did a good job
on him in the first half. In the second half he got going a little bit.
Late in the game we lost concentration and let him do things. Overall,
we did a good job on him as a team."
Kansas held Oklahoma State to its third-lowest point total of the
season (67). The Cowboys were averaging 84.2 points per game, which
ranked fifth in the country.
Kansas was able to hold OSU's vaunted penetrate-and-pitch offense to
more than 17 points under its season average. The Cowboy offense was
also slowed by poor perimeter shooting especially from beyond the arc
where the Cowboys managed just 10 of 32 three-point attempts. Ford's
leading scorer James Anderson struggled to just 10 points on 3-13
shooting and was just 2-9 from three. Makes you wonder where the Cowboy
offense would've been today without Obi Muonelo and Marshall Moses. The
duo combined for 37 points but it was not enough to offset the
collective effort of the Jayhawks.
"That's not going to happen that often with that team because that team
can naturally score with (Terrell) Harris and Eaton and (Keaton) Page
can also really score. We were fortunate they missed some shots but
they didn't get a lot of real good looks until late in the game," said
Self's Jayhawks actually outscored the league's leading three-point
shooting team today by 1 (11-10). The 11 threes made were the highest
total by KU in a conference game since last season when the Hawks
nailed 14 in a rout of Texas Tech.
While the Jayhawks did the job defensively, on the offensive end Self
continues to get valuable contributions from junior college transfer,
Mario Little. Little led four KU players in double-figures with 13
"I thought that Mario Little made a couple of key baskets. When we
started up little runs he made some key baskets in the middle of the
paint," said OSU head coach Travis Ford.
"He's getting better and he's getting more comfortable," Self
continued. "Against a zone he is as good as we have in that high post
"We know that Sherron (Collins) and Cole (Aldrich) need to get touches.
I am just here if they need me," Little stated. "I try to knock down
shots and hit the glass when I play at the four spot. I am just here to
do whatever the team needs me to do."
Little says the leg continues to feel good overall and says there is no
pain while he plays. It is starting to show in the numbers as little
matched a season-high with six field goals and is now shooting 69
percent in conference play.
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