Oklahoma State slams Texas A & M
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Sunday, February 26, 2012
2/26/12 at 7:05 AM
OSU notebook: Is Nash done for season?
John Klein: Young Cowboys continue to grow up
STILLWATER - Maybe Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford needs buddies who are more optimistic.
Ford told reporters his pals said this - "whoa, you guys are in trouble" - when they found out OSU would likely be without Le'Bryan Nash for a Saturday game against Texas A&M.
Instead, shorthanded OSU played so effectively on both ends of the court that the Cowboys strolled to a 60-42 victory and "inspired" Aggies coach Billy Kennedy to scald his team in a postgame press conference.
Kennedy said he didn't want to take anything away from Oklahoma State. "But I thought our guys were just terrible. Bad effort. Our practices haven't been good. The ball (didn't move). We were selfish offensively. We were stealing money from the university. It was disgusting. I apologize to Texas A&M and our fans for the effort and the way we didn't share the ball offensively."
Texas A&M was limited to season-lows of 15 field goals and 42 points. The Aggies scored only two points in the last 5:21 (on two free throws with 15.4 seconds left) and they finished with the second-fewest points ever by an OSU opponent in a Big 12 game.
Ford challenged all of his players in team meetings (and again in late-night phone calls) to do a little bit extra if Nash couldn't play. Nash, the Big 12's top freshman scorer, watched from the bench with a cast on his fractured left hand.
Among those responding was 6-foot-11 Philip Jurick, who started in Nash's place, played his second-most minutes (26) in 2012 and protected the rim well enough to be a factor in Texas A&M shooting its third-worst percentage (.319) this season.
Jurick sat out a 76-61 road loss to A&M last month. In that game, the Aggies shot their best percentage (.583) in a league game this season.
Ford's buddies had reason to be worried about the rematch. Nash is OSU's second-leading scorer and the Cowboys can labor to score points even when he is on the court. One game earlier, the Pokes scored 12 first-half points in a loss at Oklahoma.
But Kennedy said sometimes teams play better when they are a man down.
That was the case when Aggies Khris Middleton and Dash Harris sat out the earlier game against OSU. And that was the case when a shorthanded Alabama team rocked the Cowboys in a pre-Christmas game.
"It can happen," agreed Ford. "It's kind of the overachieving effect, kind of the eye of the tiger."
The Nash-less Cowboys banded together to play like a team. A stat that jumps off the box score: 15 assists on 21 baskets. OSU had the same number of unassisted baskets (six) as A&M had assisted baskets.
"I think everybody stepped up to the challenge," said Brian Williams, who scored 13 of his game-high 17 points after halftime.
OSU never trailed after scoring 14 consecutive points (second-most against a Big 12 opponent this season) early in the first half.
A&M cut the margin to three at halftime, but seldom-deployed freshman Marek Soucek scored four points, took a charge and dished to Williams for a 3-pointer to help the Cowboys outscore the Aggies 9-1 in the first three minutes of the second half.
OSU improved to 14-15 and, at 7-9 in Big 12 play, has clinched at least a seventh-place finish
OSU up next
8 p.m. Monday
Radio: KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: Cowboys slam Texas A&M
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
OSU freshmen Michael Cobbins, Brian Williams and Cezar Guerrero celebrate as coach Travis Ford walks away after the Cowboys defeated Texas A&M. KT KING / For the Tulsa World