Sloppy Cowboys Pull Out Exhibition Win

STILLWATER - As the season got underway, Travis Ford talked about the Oklahoma State Cowboys more like they were a science project than a basketball team. On Saturday, in a game where OSU turned the ball over 27 times on the way to a too-close-for-comfort 89-80 victory over Division II Central Oklahoma, the coach gave his experiment a failing grade.

"They had every chance and every right to beat us," Ford said. "I can't say it was totally unexpected how we played, but I was still a little disappointed."

Besides his team's slow start, Ford said he is also worried about the status of sophomore guard Keiton Page, who injured his ankle in the second half.

Ford has said he is relying on Page to take care of the point guard position until freshmen Ray Penn and Fred Gulley are ready to take on the responsibility. Ford said he wasn't sure how serious the injury was, but he the team will be hurt without him in the lineup.

Page's possible replacements, Penn and Gulley, both scored six points in the game, but combined for 11 turnovers, nine of which came from Gulley.

"We really need (Penn and Gulley) to settle down and embrace pressure," Ford said. "In the back of my mind, I know they're freshmen but also I'm not going to let them use that as an excuse."

Besides his newcomers, Ford said he was also disappointed in the play of OSU's returning players. Even the 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists of All-Big 12 guard James Anderson was not enough to satisfy Ford, who said all of his players were too careless with the ball.

On the positive side, there was the play of Kentucky transfer Matt Pilgrim, who announced his presence with a double-double. In his first game in Gallagher-Iba Arena, Pilgrim scored 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.

Senior guard Obi Muonelo, who contributed 23 points and 10 rebounds of his own, said Pilgrim brings the Cowboys a much-needed third option down low.

"With me, him and Marshall (Moses), I think he's a great addition," Muonelo said. "It's fun having just a beast inside. Whenever you need an extra offensive or defensive rebound or a put back, he'll be there."

The Cowboys must now prepare for their second and final exhibition game against Dillard University of Louisiana on Tuesday.

Ford said he hopes his team will learn from the game against UCO and show improvement as the regular season looms a week away (Saturday, Nov. 14) when Seattle comes to Stillwater,

"It's going to be good for our guys to watch this film," he said. "There's going to be a lot of things for them to see and say we need to get better at. There's a lot of room for improvement."

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