Cowboys Get Nasty Against Bears

STILLWATER – Corliss Williamson saw a little bit of himself on the basketball court Wednesday night. The 6-7, 245-pound power forward earned his "Big Nasty" nickname during a 12-year NBA career but it was the play of Oklahoma State's Marshall Moses and Darrell Williams that impressed him as the Cowboys defeated Central Arkansas 69-57 inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The 6-7, 255-pound Moses and the 6-8, 255-pound Williams combined for 22 points and 24 rebounds in leading Oklahoma State to the 12-point victory. The Cowboys improve to 6-1 with the victory, while the Williamson-coached Central Arkansas Bears are now 2-4.

It was 5-9 Keiton Page who led the Cowboys with 17 points, including 10 in a row in the game's final four minutes, but it was Moses and Williams that did the dirty work as OSU had a 38-14 scoring advantage in the paint and the Cowboy outrebounded the smaller Bears by 22 (48-26).

Moses finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds (5 offensive), while Williams added 8 points and 13 rebounds (5 offensive). Jéan-Paul Olukemi also contributed 15 points and 7 rebounds.

"Wish I had two like that," Williamson said of the two Cowboys. "I love guys 6-7 or 6-8 with big bodies that like to get physical inside. They do a great job of using the athletic ability, the talent to push their way to the basket and be strong. That's something we tried to address in practice and the shootaround but we knew it was going to be a tough matchup for us."

But despite shooting 34.5 percent from the field (the fifth consecutive OSU opponent to make less than 40 percent of its field goal attempts), being out-rebounded by 22 and turning the ball over 16 times, the Bears were still in the game midway through the second half.

Oklahoma State led just 39-35 scored six consecutive points – a traditional three-point play by Moses, a free throw by Olukemi and another basket by Williams (he missed the free throw or it would have been a three-point play – to give the Cowboys some breathing room.

Central Arkansas was still within 52-46 with five minutes to play when Page took over. He scored 10 consecutive points, including eight free throws, to stretch the lead to 63-50 with 1:53 remaining.

"We did things that we needed to do to win this game," said Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford. "We rebounded the ball, we made some shots when we needed to make ‘em.

"Not taking care of the ball is putting so much pressure on our basketball team right now. When you're turning the ball over as much as we are you're putting your back against the wall a little bit. We've got to figure it out. We've got to take better care of the basketball. Guys have to make better decisions and we need to probably do a better job of getting guys in spots. Turnovers are just really holding our team back right now."

The Cowboys shot just 43.9 percent from the field (25 of 57) and committed 19 turnovers (6 by Williams and 4 by Moses).

"Our defense is giving us a chance to be successful right now, and our offense is what's making it so close and what's making it difficult," said Ford. "If you shoot 1-for-12 (from three-point range) and have 19 turnovers, most games you're not going to win doing that. But we did rebound the ball and we did defend."

Ford takes a 3-2 advantage over Williamson in head-to-head games involving the two. The two were involved in four games while Ford was a point guard at Kentucky and Williamson was an All-American at Arkansas during the 1993 and 1994 seasons. They split the four games during those two seasons.

"You've got to tip your hat to Oklahoma State. They are a very tough team. Coach Ford really has them prepared to play basketball the right way," said Williamson.

"The really pressured our guards at halfcourt, and made it difficult to get in some of our sets. Our guys early on were a little timid and kind of soft with the basketball. I think we played a little better in the second half but Coach Ford had that team ready to play good solid defense.

"He's done a great job with this team, preparing them to win games and it's going to be exciting to watch them throughout the year."

The Cowboys travel Thursday to Philadelphia for Saturday's noon tipoff against La Salle, a team they defeated 77-62 a year ago in the All-College Classic in Oklahoma City.

Cowboy Player Efficiency Ratings
vs. Central Arkansas
Formula: Player Efficiency Rating (PER) = Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks - missed field goals - missed free throws - turnovers.

Marshall Moses: 17
Jéan-Paul Olukemi: 17
Darrell Williams: 15
Keiton Page: 15
Nick Sidorakis: 6
Jarred Shaw: 2
Ray Penn: 1
Matt Pilgrim: 1
Markel Brown: 0
Fred Gulley: -2
Mike Cobbins: DNP
Reger Dowell: DNP
Roger Franklin: DNP
Brian Williams: DNP

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