OSU Wins Again Despite 3-Point Struggles

STILLWATER – Travis Ford's first team at Oklahoma State was forced to rely on the three-point shot at times because of the lack of a true post presence. Ford's team shot better than 38 percent from behind the arc last season, and the OSU head coach expected more of the same this season.

But that hasn't been the case through the first two games of the 2009-10 season, and yet the Cowboys have still won both games by more than 22 points, including Wednesday night's 93-61 victory over Southern at Gallagher Iba-Arena.

The Cowboys made just 8-of-32 three-pointers in Wednesday night's 32-point victory over Southern, and the percentage would have been much worse if not for James Anderson draining a trio of three-pointers in the game's final five minutes en route to his game-best 30 points. It is the most points the Oklahoma State junior has scored in a game at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The Cowboys' dismal shooting performance from behind the arc came just four nights after OSU shot 13.3 percent from beyond the arc (2 for 15) in a season-opening 86-64 victory over Seattle.

OSU shot 38.4 percent from the three-point line last season (which was 24th best among Division I schools) but has made just 10-of-48 three-pointers (20.8 percent) in its first two games, both played inside the friendly confines of Gallagher-Iba Arena.

From behind the three-point line against Southern, Anderson was 3 for 10 (making his final three after missing on his first seven), Keiton Page just 2 for 8, and Obi Muonelo was 2 for 7.

Anderson, who shot a team-best 40.8 percent on three-point attempts last season, is 4-of-12 from behind the arc. Page, a 39.9 percent shooter from behind the line a year ago, is just 3-of-14. Muonelo, who made 39.8 percent of his threes, is now 2-of-9.

"It doesn't concern me but it surprises me," Ford said of the Cowboys' struggles behind the three-point line. "Shooting can come and go. You'll never hear me say we're a great shooting team because you just never know. But we have the ability to be a good shooting team.

"We haven't shot it well the last two games. A team that puts an emphasis on shooting threes, which we do, our spacing is such that our offense creates a lot of threes, you need a few of them to go down to give yourself confidence.

"Now if we had a bad shooting team then I'd be concerned about it but we have the ability to make them. At some point, some day we will, so I don't worry about that. Without watching film, I would say out of 32 (three-point attempts) there was probably five that I wasn't happy with," Ford added.

Anderson and Marshall Moses each recorded their second double-doubles in as many games. Anderson finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds, while Moses added 14 points and 13 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures for the Cowboys were Muonelo with 12, Matt Pilgrim 11, Ray Penn 11, and Page 11.

"I hate to be critical because he did get 30 points and 10 rebounds … Yeah, James scored 30 points and we might not have won without him," Ford said of Anderson, "but it's one of those things that I thought he should have had 40 (points) and probably 15 (rebounds). He knows he could have done a lot of things better tonight besides just scoring the points, so I'm not going to complain. He really is playing hard but he hasn't found his groove yet."

Anderson and the Cowboys get a chance to find their groove – and their shooting eye – when they host North Texas on Saturday afternoon at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.

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