Page, Pilgrim Lead Cowboys

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford said earlier this week that Keiton Page plays better when he starts, and that's why he decided to put him back in the Cowboys starting lineup in recent games. The 5-foot-9 sophomore proved his coach right on Tuesday night as he scored a career-high 22 points in helping OSU defeat Prairie View A&M 80-58 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Page made a career-best six three-pointers (the rest of the Cowboys were just 2-of-16 from behind the arc), while Matt Pilgrim recorded the first double-double of his Oklahoma State playing career with 15 points and 12 rebounds in just 15 minutes of play. James Anderson also contributed 15 points but was just 4-of-12 shooting while nursing a hamstring injury.

The Cowboys struggled from the opening tip, actually falling behind 11-6 before going on a 9-0 run midway through the first half.

But Ford wasn't surprised that his team didn't play well, and wasn't too upset considering the circumstances.

"We've had a lot of distractions the last couple of days as far as academic work, guys having to miss practice (Monday), we had to take off Sunday. I kind of foresaw this happening tonight a little bit," Ford said. "We just didn't come out very focused. But I saw it coming. That's why I didn't get too upset.

"I thought Keiton Page found his stroke a little bit and I thought Matt Pilgrim played big time with 15 (points) and 12 (rebounds) in only 15 minutes. But it was very sloppy tonight. As I told our team, if we play like we did tonight we're not going to be the team we need to be, and especially be able to compete with Bradley (on Friday in Las Vegas)."

The Cowboys shot 43.3 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from behind the arc, and 64.5 percent from the free-throw line, and turned the ball over 14 times.

"We're excited to get a win. In games like this it's good to get a win and get out of it," Ford said. "There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this game."

Ford made the decision to put Page in the starting lineup and have Pilgrim come off the bench before OSU's victory over North Texas this past Saturday.

That coaching strategy made the second-year head coach look good Tuesday night. "That guy's pretty sharp … tonight. Who knows what will happen next game?" Ford said with a laugh. "I looked down after the game and was shocked that Matt only got 15 minutes. I thought he played a lot more than that, and I should have played him a lot more than that. He had it rolling pretty good."

Anderson was averaging 25.7 points and 11.0 rebounds through the Cowboys' first three games but struggled Tuesday night. The junior from Junction City, Ark., finished with 15 points (but made only 4 of 12 shots) and three rebounds.

"James Anderson was hobbled with a bad hamstring. I shouldn't have played him 26 minutes. I didn't realize he played that many minutes," Ford said.

The Cowboys don't have much time to recover as they leave on Wednesday afternoon to fly to Las Vegas for two games in the HoopTV Las Vegas Invitational. They play Bradley (1-1) on Friday night at 7 p.m. (Central Daylight Time), and will face either Illinois (2-0) or Utah (1-1) on Saturday.

GoPokes Top Stories