Cowboys Put It All Together Against Bears

STILLWATER, Okla. – Time is running out for Michael Cobbins, Anthony Hickey and Le’Bryan Nash. The three Oklahoma State seniors have only a couple of handful of games remaining in their college careers … and they each played with a sense of urgency Tuesday night in leading the Cowboys to a 64-53 victory over No. 20 Baylor at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The Cowboys improve to 14-6 overall and 4-4 in Big 12 play (with all four wins coming at home and the four losses away from GIA), while the Bears drop to 15-5 overall and 3-4 in conference play.

Cobbins, Hickey and Nash each did their part to support the game-high 16 points from teammate Phil Forte, and they did it in a way that pleased Cowboys head coach Travis Ford. Cobbins only scored 6 points but had 11 rebounds (matching Baylor’s 275-pound Rico Gathers’ 11 boards) and blocked 5 shots.

Hickey filled up the stat sheet with 10 assists (a career high), 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals, and Nash contributed 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, an assist and a steal.

Thus, the three OSU seniors combined for 27 points, 21 rebounds, 13 assists, 7 blocks and 3 steals.

“Michael Cobbins and Hickey were the difference makers,” Ford said. “Cobbins is just a warrior, a complete warrior. He is getting back to being that difference maker that we all know he can be, and be one of the better defenders in the league. He’s a great one-on-one defender and he helps so many other guys out. He erases a lot of mistakes. And I thought he had a good offensive game, I thought he was very active and made some good passes.

“He and Hickey were the difference makers. To me, Hickey was very good and Cobbins was very good.”

Hickey turned the ball over four times but he held Baylor's Kenny Chery to 6 points on 3-of-13 shooting and the Bears point guard turned the ball over six times.

“Baylor’s point guard Kenny Chery coming into this game I thought he was playing probably as good as any point guard in our league,” Ford said. “He holds him to 3 for 13, and he pretty much did it himself; he played 37 minutes. That is what he’s here for, that is what he’s capable of doing. Anything less than that he’s underachieving, and our team will under-achieve.

“That’s an incredible stat line, 8 points 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and he holds one of the top players in the league to 6 points.”

Baylor was held to a season low 53 points, and the Bears entered the game as one of the nation’s best rebounding teams (fifth with 41.5 total boards per game, and third nationally with 16.1 offensive rebounds). The Bears did out-rebound the Cowboys 35-34, including finishing with 13 offensive boards, but OSU outscored Baylor 9-8 in second chance points (which is indicative of what a team does with its offensive rebounds).

As a matter of fact, the eight second-chance points is the fewest for the Bears all season and the first time in 20 games this season that Baylor’s opponent won the battle of second-chance points.

“Our guys battled, showed a lot of toughness. I’m very proud of them. I’m very proud of how they responded,” Ford said. "We were very happy at halftime with where the rebounding was, but we told our guys they’re going to get some rebounds (in the second half). We just can’t let that be the thing that brings them back.

“We rebounded the ball against one of the top rebounding teams in the country. I’ll take that every game. If we play that hard and keep showing the toughness that we showed tonight, this team has a chance to be pretty good.”

In addition to the OSU seniors stepping up Tuesday night, junior Jeff Newberry (10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals) and freshman Tavarius Shine (11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including hitting all three of his 3-pointers, 3 rebounds, a block and a steal) also had big games just three days after combining for 4 points and 1 rebound in Saturday’s loss to Kansas State.

“Those two guys made some big shots in the second half,” Ford said. “This game is not hard to figure out. If we don’t get these productions (from Newberry and Shine) we don’t win. If we get ‘em, we’ll have a chance to win.”

OSU has a few days off before returning to action Saturday night in a nationally televised game (ESPN2) against Bedlam rival Oklahoma inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CST).


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