Pokes Blown Out By Stanford, 82-67

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said prior to the Cowboys' game against Stanford that his young basketball team can be one of the best defensive teams in the NCAA if the offense allows it to be.

On Wednesday night, the Cowboys displayed exactly what their coach meant by that statement on the negative side.

OSU never found an offensive rhythm and committed 14 costly turnovers in an 82-67 loss to Stanford in Madison Square Garden.

The Cowboys held a three-point lead with 13 minutes left in the first half but that was as good as it got as Stanford turned on the afterburners en route to an 18-0 run, eventually building a 28-point lead midway through the second half.

It wasn't as much the number of turnovers that did in the Cowboys, but rather when and how they occurred. Stanford's Josh Owens routinely ran through lazy Cowboy passes at the top op their offensive set for fast break dunks as he made his first nine shots and ended up leading all scorers with 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting.

The runs allowed by the Cowboys were exactly that — allowed. When things weren't going well, OSU didn't show the sense of urgency needed to stop the Cardinal. That likely had a lot to do with the Cowboys' two most experienced players, J.P. Olukemi and Keiton Page being nonfactors in New York.

Page played a surprising 15 minutes off the bench despite Ford saying on Monday that the senior guard wouldn't play because of a lingering toe injury. Page made two of his three shots, all 3-pointers, but was clearly in pain and was a liability on defense and in moving in the half-court offense.

Olukemi, on the other hand, continued his rough start to the 2011-12 season with zero points on 0-of-2 shooting in just 10 minutes of play because of foul trouble.

With such a young and inexperienced team, OSU needs those two against quality opponents.

But the absense of any real impact from Olukemi and Page isn't the only reason the Cowboys faltered in New York. There was no energy and no execution, as the Cowboys settled for deep outside shots instead of trying to establish an offense and started to play defense with their hands instead of their feet as the game continued to slip away.

Those are signs of a young team that hasn't faced adversity but with the brutal nonconference slate the Pokes have ahead of them, Ford won't let that type of effort happen again.

The few bright spots for the Pokes in the blowout loss again came from their two true freshmen, Cezar Guerrero and LeBryan Nash.

Nash led the Cowboys with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line and seemed to be more assertive and consistent in the later stages of the game, scoring 11 of his points in the final 7:38 of regulation.

Guerrero, coming off his heroic 29-point performance against UT – San Antonio, has nine points, three rebounds, two steals and a team-high four assists against Stanford. Guerrero, again, seemed to be the only real jolt of energy for an otherwise lethargic Cowboy side Wednesday night.

Markel Brown had 11 points and six rebounds on 4-of-12 shooting as the only Cowboy to join Nash in double figures.

Junior college transfer center Philip Jurick was held scoreless but was perhaps the most impressive Cowboy on the defensive end, collecting five blocks and altering numerous other shots, as he appears to be building a better comfort level in the system every game.

Redshirt sophomore point guard Fred Gulley left the game in the second half with an injury, which appeared to be to his shoulder. That's bad news for the Cowboys as Gulley has already had two shoulder surgeries, the second of which ended his season last year after only seven games. His status is uncertain at this point.

The Cowboys play the loser of No. 5 Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech Friday at 1:30 p.m. in the NIT consolation game. The Cowboys will have to play much better than they did Wednesday night to avoid returning to Stillwater with two losses.

GoPokes Top Stories