The 5-11 senior point guard finished with a stat line that left Ford gushing about his play – 19 points (the most he's scored since joining the Cowboys, and just three shy of his career-best 22 from his playing days at LSU), 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 steals and just two turnovers in 32 minutes.
“Anthony Hickey was a great leader today. He set the tone defensively,” Ford said. “Anthony Hickey ran our team on the offensive end and set the tone defensively for us.”
Hickey’s first two baskets got the Cowboys rolling after falling behind 4-0 but it was OSU’s defense that set the tone against the Tigers. After an early basket, Memphis missed 10 consecutive shots and went nearly seven minutes with making a shot from the field as the Cowboys went on a 13-0 run to take a 13-4 lead.
“As a team, our defensive intensity was off the charts,” Ford said. “That’s the best it’s been, and that’s great to see. That’s all we worked on all week. We practiced probably harder this week prior to a game than we probably have in a long time. It paid off for us because I saw a lot of positives habits that we’d gotten away from.
“(The quick start) was essential because I wanted our players to feel the hard work paid off. I told them we wanted to make this week’s practice make the game easy. We went hard, we went long, (and) we were aggressive all week. We got back to the basics. I just loved how the players responded after a very poor performance last week, and proud of how they responded in front of 15,000 people in a tough atmosphere against a very talented basketball team.”
While Hickey was definitely outstanding he got plenty of help from his teammates, specifically Nash, Phil Forte and Michael Cobbins.
Nash actually led the Cowboys with 20 points, going 12-of-14 from the free-throw line, while adding seven rebounds and three assists.
Forte rebounded following the worst shooting performance of his career (1-for-14) against South Carolina with a 19-point, 4-steal effort. He only took five shots against Memphis while scoring those 19 points (going 4-for-5 from the field), but was 2-of-3 on three-pointers and 9-of-10 from the foul line.
Cobbins also did a good job while going up against the Memphis post tandem of Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols. The OSU senior had his best game since his 15-point performance in OSU’s season opener more than a month ago with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks against the Tigers. He made four of five shots from the field and was 4-of-6 on free throws. Goodwin (11.8 points) and Nichols (10.2) were a combined 6-of-13 shooting and finished with 15 points.
The Cowboys return to Stillwater for a pair of non-conference home games, beginning with Tuesday night’s contest against Middle Tennessee State at Gallagher-Iba Arena before hosting 19th-ranked Maryland on Sunday, Dec. 21.