John Klein: Cowboys overcome rough performance with win over Baylor
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Thursday, February 07, 2013
2/07/13 at 7:22 AM
Related story: The finishing touch: Brown and OSU beat the buzzer and Baylor.
Go to John Klein's Blog Original Print Headline: OSU overcomes poor play to nip Bears
STILLWATER - It is never easy and it is never dull with Oklahoma State.
For the third straight game, the Cowboys took it to the final seconds, this in overtime, to win a game.
"I'm exhausted," said OSU coach Travis Ford.
Markel Brown rescued cold-shooting OSU with a length-of-the-floor sprint and layup with .2 seconds left in overtime of a 69-67 victory over Baylor on Wednesday night at Gallager-Iba Arena.
"We've figured out some crazy ways to win games lately," said Ford.
The Cowboys shot poorly, never got into any kind of rhythm and were probably lucky to win.
They'll take a little luck any day.
"It was your typical Big 12 game with two teams battling to the end," said Baylor coach Scott Drew.
As a result, the suddenly surging Cowboys have won four straight, including last-second victories over Iowa State, Kansas and Baylor.
OSU, finding ways to lose close games earlier in the year, has obviously learned some tough lessons. The Cowboys, 16-5 and 6-3, are now the team that has the closing kick to win games.
"It was one of those nights you have to gut it out," said OSU's Brown.
Oklahoma State survived against the Bears despite a horrible offensive night.
Considering how poorly OSU played it was somewhat of a miracle it found a way to win against the Bears.
O-State shot just 36 percent. It hit just 3-of-21 3-pointers, two of those in overtime.
OSU's big four scorers of Brown, Marcus Smart, Le'Bryan Nash and Phil Forte combined to shoot just 14-of-54.
Brown and Smart, the heroes of O-State's recent victory at Kansas, hit just 8-of-38 shots.
Those are the kind of nights that usually get you beat.
"It was a gutsy performance by our guys," said Ford. "I loved how we hung in there."
Yet, even on an off shooting night, Smart was fabulous. He hit just 4-of-21 shots. However, he hit 5-of-6 free throws, had eight rebounds with seven assists, four steals and no turnovers.
"He's always going to do something," said Ford.
OSU did pretty much everything wrong. The worst might have been blowing a 13-point lead with about six minutes to play.
"We started making some poor decisions in shot selection," said Ford.
The Cowboys, so good against Kansas, were equally awful against Baylor.
OSU was bad from the start. It scored just three points in the first seven minutes of the game. It scored just 11 points in the first 14 minutes.
"You are going to have nights like this," said Smart.
Instead of getting a lift from the road victory at Kansas, Oklahoma State came out flat and with little emotion.
Oklahoma State's best players were way off against the Bears right from the start.
Despite the best efforts of the coaches to refocus the Cowboys, it was hard to put Kansas in the rear-view mirror.
"They can't go around a corner without being asked about it," said Ford. "There was no way to forget about it. There was no way to shake it.
"We tried to talk to them about it. But, we're glad fans and students were excited about it."
However, it nearly cost OSU an important game. The Cowboys simply did not look ready to play against the Bears.
That has to change.
O-State, if it has really turned a corner in its season, has to be able to get back in the groove after big victories.
It has to be able to move on after this series of close, emotional victories and keep moving toward the NCAA Tournament with improvement.
That includes taking four straight victories for games at Texas and Texas Tech.
OSU should win in Austin and Lubbock. These are the kind of games that good teams win.
The Cowboys are playing well enough to start inching up the NCAA Tournament bracket. However, it cannot afford to lose games it should win. That includes the Longhorns and Red Raiders.
Sometimes you have to figure out a way to win, especially when you don't play well. You have to find a way, when things get tough on the road, to get a victory.
The victory over Baylor was yet another lesson learned for the youthful Cowboys.
"When you don't shoot it well, you've got to tough it out," said Ford.
The Cowboys toughed it out on Wednesday night and continue to climb in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.
Oklahoma State sophomore guard Le'Bryan Nash drives to the basket during Oklahoma State's 69-67 overtime win over Baylor at Gallagher Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. KT KING/For the Tulsa World