Familiar Faults Dragging Down Pokes

On paper, Oklahoma State's trip to Texas sized up as a mismatch. The nation's No. 3 team - and rising? - playing at home, trying to extend its unbeaten run through the Big 12 to 11 straight wins opposite a Cowboys club that hasn't won a conference road game since last February. Reality wasn't any kinder to the Cowboys.

All of OSU's troubling trends continued, while the Longhorns rolled on, improving to 11-0 in the Big 12 with a 73-55 romp. The Cowboys fell to 0-6 on the road and were done in by a familiar set of failures.

--OSU shot 37.5 percent from the floor, missing 35 of 56 shots.

--Foul trouble crippled the Cowboys, with leading scorer and big man Marshall Moses playing just six first-half minutes after picking up his third foul at the 11:02 mark of the opening period. Nick Sidorakis also had three first-half fouls.

--The Pokes committed 17 turnovers - 12 of those in the first half, when they were falling behind 36-24 at the break.

While OSU continues to hold on to hope for an NCAA Tournament bid - increasingly slim hopes - it's mandatory it finds a road win somewhere just to have a shot at getting to 8-8 in league play. Remaining road games: at No. 1 Kansas and archrival Oklahoma.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: Reasons for OSU's road woes aren't hard to find. No factor may be bigger than guard Jean-Paul Olukemi's Jekyll-Hyde act that produces wildly dramatic home/road splits. The Cowboys second-leading scorer in Big 12 games, Olukemi delivers at home, disappears on the road. He entered the Texas game averaging 20.4 points a game at home in Big 12 play; 8.6 elsewhere. He scored three points and committed five turnovers against the Longhorns.

--Keiton Page didn't have a great game for the Cowboys at Texas, but it was better than his first go-round with the Longhorns at home in December. That night, Page was held scoreless for the only time this season. In the rematch, Page scored OSU's first basket and finished with seven points.
--Matt Pilgrim has been up and down, in and out of the starting lineup for the Cowboys. He was active on the glass against the Longhorns, grabbing a career-high 14 boards.
--OSU continues to play shorthanded, following the suspension of starting forward Darrell Williams, who faces sexual assault charges. And the early foul trouble only tapped the Cowboys further, resulting in 10 players earning time in the opening period, more than any other conference game. By game's end, nine of the players got at least 12 minutes.
--Three Oklahoma State starters combined for 11 points in a 65-54 loss at Nebraska on Feb. 12. With the Cowboys thin on manpower, any shortcomings among the starters can be devastating. G Jean-Paul Olukemi was among the disappointments. The Cowboys' leading scorer in Big 12 play had averaged 16.6 points in seven previous games but went just 2-for-9 and scored six points.
--Although depth is an issue, G Ray Penn has not emerged as the player many expected. Penn assumed the point guard role at Oklahoma State upon his arrival as a freshman last season. A leg injury forced him to miss the second half of the season after drawing 15 starts. This season, Penn is relegated to reserve duty, despite the loss of G Fred Gulley (shoulder). Penn, however, did log 17 minutes in the loss at Nebraska, though starting G Markel Brown, a freshman, played 33 despite 1-for-6 shooting.

BY THE NUMBERS: 58: Seconds Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford spent taking questions following the Nebraska defeat. After one question was answered, the room went silent and Ford departed. "I agree with you guys," he said. "There's not a whole lot to be said."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We had some decent looks, no question (at Nebraska). We didn't capitalize on some opportunities. It puts so much pressure on your defense when you don't make layups." -- Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford.


--vs. Texas A&M, Feb. 19
KEY MATCHUPS: The Aggies get after it defensively and are usually good at guarding against transition baskets. Offensively, A&M can bog down at times, though F Khris Middleton is among the most improved players in the Big 12. G Dash Harris is steady at the point and G B.J. Holmes provides an outside threat, though A&M prefers to exploit opportunities inside for easier shots.
FUTURES MARKET: Without suspended F Darrell Williams, Oklahoma State must depend heavily on F Marshall Moses for production underneath. Moses stands just 6-7, but uses his sturdy bulk (255 pounds) to position himself inside. He responded with 18 points and six rebounds in a Feb. 12 loss at Nebraska, but even with that production the Cowboys were defeated 65-54. The Huskers grabbed 10 more rebounds and the glass could become an issue for the Cowboys, who rank eighth in conference play in total rebounds and rebounding margin.

--Junior G Keiton Page averaged 21 points over a three-game stretch before settling for 14 points on 5-for-13 shooting at Nebraska on Feb. 12. Over a four-game stretch he is 31 of 34 from the free throw line through Feb. 12.
--Senior F Marshall Moses has grabbed at least five rebounds in 16 of his last 18 games through Feb. 12 and was the Big 12's active leader in double-digit performances (26) on the boards entering the week.
--Junior F Darrell Williams will not travel with the team or play until his legal situation is resolved. Williams pleaded not guilty on Feb. 7 to charges of rape by instrumentation and sexual battery.

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