Inside OSU Basketball: Penn Ready To Return?

The Cowboys have found life hard without point guard Ray Penn, who has missed time with a knee injury. They have dropped two games in succession without Penn in the lineup following a three-game win streak. They have tried different lineup combinations and varied roles on the floor. Despite a small lineup, the Cowboys don't have a natural point guard without Penn.

Keiton Page is more of a shooting guard despite standing 5-foot-9. Fred Gulley has stepped up in Penn's absence, but having him as a main ballhandler is a big responsibility for the freshman.

Matt Pilgrim has done a nice job recently, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the loss Monday to Texas. He also had 21 and nine in a loss to Missouri. But adding his size hasn't negated the loss of Penn on the perimeter.

Saturday's game at Texas Tech will be an interesting test. The Cowboys dominated the Red Raiders in the first meeting in Stillwater, winning 81-52 on Jan. 9. But Tech, which is 12-1 at home, losing only to Missouri, could make it a closer game if Penn can't return to the lineup.

TEXAS 72, OKLAHOMA STATE 60: Texas ended its recent struggles in Gallagher-Iba Arena as Longhorns freshman Jordan Hamilton scored a career-best 27 points. Texas had lost three of its last four visits, the last three when it was ranked in the top 10.Cowboys guard James Anderson was hot early and finished with 28 points, but it wasn't enough. Oklahoma State led by 11 points in the first half and by four at the half before giving up the lead.

--The Jan. 27 game against Texas A&M was played on the ninth anniversary of a plane crash that killed 10 members of the Oklahoma State travel party that was returning from a game at Colorado. It marked just the second time since the crash Oklahoma State played on the anniversary date. A memorial recognizing those who died sits at the main entrance inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
--An ice storm forced the Oklahoma State travel party to wait at both an airport and an Oklahoma City hotel after a lengthy bus ride to meet its charter plane the day before its Jan. 30 game at Missouri. The Cowboys eventually departed at 8:30 p.m. and had little time to regroup for the afternoon contest. "Everybody was kind of worn out," said G James Anderson.

ON THE SPOT: G Ray Penn is considered day-to-day, but he missed Monday's loss to Texas and might not be fully healthy for Saturday's game against Texas Tech. Guarding Tech guard John Roberson will be hard, but the Cowboys must get better offensively if Penn can't go or is limited. Page has not been able to handle point guard duty well since Penn left the lineup and really is miscast as a distributor and ballhandler.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Anytime we score 80 points, we should win the game. That's just what we believe. We scored 80 points (at Missouri) with 24 turnovers. Say you turn it over half that, which we normally do, there's probably another 15 points." -- Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford.

Three consecutive wins in the Big 12 made Oklahoma State one of the league's hottest teams before it fell 95-80 at Missouri on Jan. 30. The loss was the third in four conference road games for the Cowboys, though an upset win at Kansas State remains huge and could be something that bolsters the credentials OSU presents when it's time to pick the NCAA Tournament field.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Marshall Moses, F Obi Muonelo, G Keiton Page, G James Anderson, G Fred Gulley. Key Subs -- F Matt Pilgrim, G Nick Sidorakis, F Roger Franklin.

Oklahoma State 73, Kansas State 69
Oklahoma State 76, Texas A&M 69
Missouri 95, Oklahoma State 80
Texas 72, Oklahoma State 60

at Texas Tech, Saturday, Feb. 6
vs. Oklahoma, Saturday, Feb. 13
at Iowa State, Wednesday, Feb. 17
vs. Baylor, Saturday, Feb. 20

IN FOCUS: The Cowboys beat Tech by 29 the first time the teams met this season, but it figures to be much different at Lubbock -- especially if guard Ray Penn is still sidelined.

--F Matt Pilgrim, a transfer from Hampton, got off to a slow start offensively this season but has come on of late. In the past two losses, he has scored 21 and 11 points and grabbed nine and 10 rebounds against Missouri and Texas. The 21 points were a season high. He grabbed 15 boards against Prairie View A&M back in November.
--F Marshall Moses, after a hot streak in mid-January, has cooled off offensively. He averaged 16 points in losses to Oklahoma and Baylor and a win over Colorado. But in the four games since then, Moses has averaged only six points.
--G Keiton Page has struggled since Ray Penn has gone down. In four games without Penn, Page has shot only 7-of-28 from the field (25 percent).

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