Tight defensive start carries OSU past Missouri State
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Sunday, December 09, 2012
12/09/12 at 6:41 AM
Related Story: OSU basketball notebook: Gardner steps in
STILLWATER - After playing solid defense for 20 minutes, Oklahoma State seemed to lose interest in the second half.
Before securing a lackluster 62-42 victory, the 23rd-ranked Cowboys became sluggish and allowed Missouri State to rattle off 10 straight points.
"We've got to be a little more mature than that and handle a lead a little bit better than that," coach Travis Ford said. "But we still end up winning by 20 and had a few guys who didn't have their best games."
OSU (7-1) allowed 13 points in the first half while building a 21-point lead.
"The way we played defense in the first half was very, very good," Ford said. "When you go out there and hold a team to 13 points and the percentage we held them to, I think our guys came out in the second half thinking they were automatically going to miss."
After shooting 21.4 percent from the field in the first half, the Bears (2-7) emerged seemingly more motivated from the locker room while OSU missed its first six shots.
A 3-pointer by Nathan Scheer trimmed the score to 34-23. To prevent it from being cut to single digits, the Cowboys switched to zone and held the Bears to four field goals in the final 12 minutes.
While limiting Missouri State offensively, OSU used an 11-2 run capped with a jumper from Michael Cobbins to push the advantage to 22 points and out of reach with eight minutes left.
Ford said he didn't chew out his players for their lethargic play early in the second half. Instead, it was more of a teaching moment for a young team, and the message seemed to have been received.
"We can't do that on a consistent basis or it will hurt us in the long run," guard Markel Brown said. "We have to keep going out there and playing the same way we did in the first half."
Because of foul trouble, team glue Marcus Smart recorded season-lows in minutes (21), points (seven) and assists (none).
Brown led the team with 15 points, and Le'Bryan Nash had 10, surpassing 500 points for his career.
Cobbins, in his third game back from a toe injury, grabbed a season-high eight rebounds and was two boards shy of his first-career double-double, finishing with 10 points.
"Coach trusted me with some minutes, and I came through for him," Cobbins said. "It's definitely feeling like I'm getting back in the rhythm of things."
Vs. Central Arkansas
3 p.m. Dec. 16
Original Print Headline: Defensive start carries OSU
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte passes during OSU's 62-42 win over Missouri State Saturday in Stillwater. KT KING / For the Tulsa World