Cowboys No Test For Longhorns

The Texas Longhorns showed Wednesday night why they have to be considered one of the teams capable of winning the NCAA Tournament. The Big 12 game also showed that Oklahoma State has a long way to go to just prove that it's one of the nation's best 68 teams and deserves an invitation to the NCAA tourney following the 73-55 loss to the second-ranked Longhorns in Austin, Texas.

The Cowboys now face a must-win game Saturday when they play No. 17 Texas A&M (20-5, 7-4) at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Because after facing the Aggies they will head to Lawrence, Kan., to face No. 1-ranked Kansas in a nationally televised Big Monday game (ESPN).

The Cowboys fall to 16-9 overall with the loss and dropped into a tie for ninth place in the Big 12 race with Oklahoma with a 4-7 record.

"We got beat by a better team," said OSU head coach Travis Ford. "Our guys competed. They did not give up. They competed the whole game, from beginning to end, but (we had) way too many turnovers.

"You can't compete against the second ranked team in America when you've got 17 turnovers (for the game), and 12 at halftime, especially for us who has trouble scoring. That was number two on my six keys to winning. The other thing I wanted to do was attack the basket and we had 34 points in the paint to their 24. We should have done more of it," added Ford.

Texas led from start to finish (and has now gone 284 minutes without trailing, or six consecutive games, since OSU had the lead on the Longhorns in the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 26) to improve to 23-3 overall and 11-0 in conference play.

The Cowboys have now lost all six of their Big 12 road games this season, and they are 5-17 away from Gallagher-Iba Arena in Travis Ford's three years as head coach.

Gary Johnson scored the game's first two points before OSU guard Keiton Page answered to tie the game 2-2. But the Longhorns scored seven points in a row while the Cowboys were struggling to get open looks and the closest Ford's team managed to get was within 16-13 midway through the first half.

OSU was whistled for more fouls (13) and committed more turnovers (12) than field goals (11) and the Longhorns shot 19 free throws en route to a 36-25 halftime lead. Texas senior Gary Johnson scored 11 of his game-best 17 points in the first seven minutes of the second half as the Longhorns pushed their lead to 51-34.

"We were lucky to be down 11 at halftime. I thought that was a reasonable number for us to come back from, but we didn't start the second half very well," said Ford.

Markel Brown played the best game of his 25-game college career. The freshman from Alexandria, La., scored a team-best 14 points and also contributed 3 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, 2 assists and a steal in playing 39 minutes. The only other Cowboy in double figures was Marshall Moses with 10 points but he only attempted seven shots and played 15 minutes before fouling out with seven minutes left in the game.

Matt Pilgrim only scored four points but grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds, and sophomore Jarred Shaw finished with a career-high eight points.

"For our team to be successful against any team everything is going to have to go our way. That's just our team right now. We're going to have to have production out of everybody. It doesn't mean everybody has to make shots, but if you're not making shots than you better rebound or get some assists or some steals. We're just not getting that right now," said Ford.

"We've got guys going 2 for 7 (from the field), 1 for 6, 2 for 8, 6 for 16. These are just not good numbers on the road or at home. We have to do a better job."

The Cowboys will be looking to avenge their 71-48 loss to Texas A&M in College Station five weeks ago when the two teams meet Saturday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

"We've got to keep our heads up and keep competing. I told our guys we go back home but we certainly have to play better than we did tonight," Ford said.

"We've got a top-20 team coming in and it's another opportunity. We've got a lot of respect for Texas A&M. They beat us already pretty good. We've got to get back to the drawing board as coaches, and our players are going to have to step up and play better than we did tonight."

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