OSU rallies to down Akron in OT
BY Staff Reports
Friday, November 16, 2012
11/16/12 at 5:28 AM
BAYAMON, Puerto Rico - A thrown elbow was a turning point for Oklahoma State on Thursday morning.
The Cowboys trailed by four in overtime when Akron center Zeke Marshall was called for an offensive foul, his fifth foul of the game.
With Marshall on the bench, OSU went on to score the final eight points and snag the 69-65 win in the first game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of our team," an emotional OSU coach Travis Ford said in a postgame TV interview. "This team continues to fight adversity and just plow through it.
"That was one of the hardest-fought victories we've had in a very long time and I can't tell you how proud I am that this team stuck together."
OSU (2-0) will face Tennessee, which beat UNC-Asheville 75-68, at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
During a sloppy first half, the Cowboys couldn't get anything going, turning the ball over 10 times and recording only two assists.
To make matters worse, Jéan-Paul Olukemi, coming off a torn ACL to his right knee, went down with an injury to his left knee in the final minute before halftime, when OSU led 33-32. He did not return and sat on the bench with his knee iced.
"It doesn't look good for J.P. at this point," Ford said on his postgame radio show. "Really don't know a whole lot right now. We'll just wait and see what the doctors say."
Despite Olukemi being sidelined, the Cowboys went on an 10-0 run capped by a one-handed dunk from Le'Bryan Nash to take a 47-40 lead.
The advantage stretched to 10 points midway through the second half on a jumper by Nash.
But foul trouble hurt OSU down the stretch. Point guard Marcus Smart and center Philip Jurick sat on the bench with four fouls for most of the final minutes.
During a 5-0 run to end regulation, Akron (1-2) tied the game at 61 with 59 seconds left on an and-one play by Marshall that resulted in Jurick fouling out.
Marshall missed the free throw, and eventually the game went to overtime, where the Zips jumped out to a 65-61 lead. That's when Marshall elbowed reserve center Marek Soucek and took a seat with 2:44 left.
Freshman Phil Forte then drained a 3-pointer, and on the next possession was fouled and knocked down three free throws as OSU went up 67-65 with 52 seconds left.
The Cowboys came up with defensive stops and Smart hit a pair of free throws to seal the victory.
"We figured out how to win against a good basketball team when odds didn't look our way," Ford said. "I told them, I don't know what's going to happen next game, but this game I'm very proud of them."
Nash, playing more aggressively in what his coach called his best game at OSU, led the team with 20 points and Markel Brown had 15. Smart finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Original Print Headline: Cowboys rally and down Akron in OT
Puerto Rico Tip-Off
OSU vs. Tennessee
9:30 a.m. Friday
Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Radio: KFAQ am1170