Brad Underwood and his players agree the one thing the team needs to improve is communication following Monday night's 102-90 victory over Central Arkansas in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Oklahoma State finished with 30 fouls, and Mitchell Solomon and Cameron McGriff both fouled out for the Cowboys.
“I think it is lack of communication,” Underwood said. “We don’t understand fouling is a defensive mistake. The one thing I keep harping on to our players is that quiet teams lose. You can’t be quiet and play on the defensive end. You have to be able to communicate.”
Senior guard Phil Forte was one of the few players to finish the game without a foul.
“I know that is an emphasis, I was just trying not to foul,” Forte said. “I just try to keep my hands off when I am a defender. I don’t want to be sitting on the bench. There is a fine line between playing aggressive and committing fouls, so it is something that I think as a team we need to get better at. But it probably means I am not playing aggressive enough to be honest.”
OSU (2-0) allowed the Bears 29 free-throw attempts.
“Right now we are giving away free points at the free-throw line,” Forte said. “When we play really good teams you can’t give them easy points like that.”
Forte, a redshirt senior, said although he was not the one committing fouls, he was partly responsible.
“We had a lot of mental lapses and gave up silly baskets,” Forte said. “I think it was lack of communication and that’s on me, it is my fault because I need to do a better job talking out on the court.”
Solomon, who has now fouled out of both games this season, played only six minutes.
“It would be nice if he was out there,” Underwood said. “But a lot of what he is running into isn’t his fault. Mitch is one of the smartest players we know and because we are breaking down on the perimeter, he has to make the right rotation.”
Jeffery Carroll agrees with Forte and his coach it is the guard's fault.
“Yeah it was, we made too many silly mistakes and we need to get better at that and be smarter,” Carroll said. “We were the ones that put our bigs in bad positions. And if the guards can’t guard well and they have to help us it is our fault, but we are going to work on it.”
Underwood said he has been working with Solomon and the post every day on the new officiating rules.
“We teach every single day to jump straight in the air because that is the new rule,” Underwood said. “I think he has picked up four fouls in the first two games from that and I don’t know what else to tell him. I guess we have to tell our guards to guard better, that would help.”
Besides communication, Forte also said playing smart will help limit fouls.
“I think a lot of our fouls are kind of careless,” Forte said. “We know we are going to play aggressive and are not going to change that. So we just have to kind of be smart and not foul when we are 40 or 50 feet away from the basket.”
OSU has a short time before it is back on the court. The Cowboys play again Wednesday against New Orleans and then head to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational Tournament.
“We need to get better at it,” Forte said. “We will have to watch film so we can see what we can do to get better because from here on out every team we play is going to get better. We need to continue to adjust and make adjustments.”