Cowboys Get Ugly Win In Opener

When the final buzzer sounded and the Oklahoma State Cowboys gathered at center court, there was one smile that stood out among the rest during the victory handshakes – and for good reason. It was senior forward Matt Pilgrim who couldn't help but be happy after making his first appearance of the year in the 86-73 victory against Houston Baptist on Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Pilgrim spent the first two exhibition games of the season in street clothes on the OSU bench because of an indefinite suspension handed down by coach Travis Ford for undetermined reasons.

In his first game back, Pilgrim scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.

"I thought Matt did some good things," Ford said. "Matt is still out of shape, he's still getting there."

While Pilgrim's return was a positive sign for things to come for the Cowboys, the teams' overall performance was far from perfect in the regular season opener.

Confusion and lack of continuity on the offensive end hampered the team in the first half. Unable to find shooting rhythm, the Cowboys were below 43 percent the field and went 12-for-21 at the free-throw line.

"We need to be better than this," Ford said. "Once that ball's thrown up and it's Division One level, everybody's competing."

The OSU defense also struggled throughout the game, especially on the perimeter. The Wolves were able to make 9-13 from three-point range.

"We came out flat," senior guard Nick Sidorakis said. "Us guards couldn't guard around the perimeter."

Sidorakis finished the night with 15 points and made a team high three three-point shots, but it was the play of senior center Marshall Moses that led the Cowboys offensively. Desptie scoring a season-high 17 points, Moses said he was still unhappy with the teams overall performance.

"It's not acceptable," Moses said. "Moving on we've got to get better."

But Moses said he was also happy with the return of Pilgrim and how he is instrumental to the teams' future success.

"He makes things a lot easier individually for me because I know he's going to help on the glass," Moses said. "He's a big-time premiere athlete."

After getting up by 20 points multiple times during the game only to have the Wolves come back within single digits, the Cowboys were unable to hold a big lead in the second half.

Adding to Ford's displeasure were the 15 turnovers and 22 fouls committed by the Cowboys. Ford said that he's glad his team would be able to fix its mistakes after this type of game.

"I'd rather win and learn than lose and learn," Ford said. "A lot to learn from this film. I'm anxious to break it down and learn from it."

With four Cowboys scoring in double digits, there is still room for one player to take the leadership role offensively.

"On any given night, anybody can break out," Sidorakis said. "We're still miles and miles from where we need to be."

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