The Oklahoma State basketball team is on its way to Fort Worth for Wednesday night's critical Big 12 Conference game with TCU at 8 p.m. and televised on ESPNU and broadcast on the Cowboy Radio Network. Rather than going immediately to the hotel in downtown Fort Worth for a delicious dinner and a comfy evening of relaxation, the Cowboys will head over to Schollmaier Arena for some fun and games.
"Last year we would go directly to the hotel, but now we go to the gym and shoot, get used to the rims," said Cowboy forward Leyton Hammonds when asked the difference between road trips previous and going on the road with first-year Oklahoma State head coach Brad Underwood. "The coaches have some games they kind of invented that we do. It starts with a lay-up line and then we shot 3-pointers, from the elbow, and then there are some trick shots."
Phil Forte said it kind of becomes an elimination game and yes, he admits the 3-point shooting favors him a little bit. Hammonds said that earlier this season in Lawrence, Kansas the night before OSU lost 87-80 to the Jayhawks that Forte and freshman Thomas Dziagwa got into a shot-for-shot battle that took some time to finish.
"They didn't miss for awhile and we were watching," Hammonds explained.
Talking to former Oklahoma State basketball manager Jordan Woodruff, he said under Eddie Sutton the Cowboys would go to the opposing arena on the night before and shoot around and then do any walk thrus on the day of the game in the hotel.
"Sometimes we'd bring tape and would mark a ballroom or meeting room floor with a lane and makeshift court and that is how they would do the walk thru," Woodruff explained.
Underwood likes the together time with the team on the road and he encourages the same attitude that Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy runs with, it's us against everybody else. The team takes in the attitude that the whole arena is against them and they only have each other. Most of the time that is true, but with six players, including four starters all from the DFW Metroplex, there will be plenty of family and friends in the stands at TCU. Oklahoma State should have its biggest road crowd of the season against the Frogs.
Whatever Underwood has done or changed, however the Cowboys attitude has changed it has been for the better. Oklahoma State started this latest run of six wins in the last seven games with a win on the road in Lubbock versus Texas Tech 83-64. The Cowboys also have road wins against Oklahoma 68-66 and at West Virginia 82-75. After tomorrow night at TCU, the road warrior Cowboys have trips to Manhattan, Kansas and Ames, Iowa.