Road-tested OSU takes aim at Iowa State
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
3/06/13 at 7:47 AM
STILLWATER - Oklahoma State entered last month having won one Big 12 road game in three seasons.
"There's some kind of spell on us or something that we've got to get over," Markel Brown said in January.
Consider the spell broken. By February's end, the Cowboys had evolved into road warriors, victors of five straight away from home.
And now, "we don't fear anybody," Brian Williams said Monday.
One road test awaits, and it is among the toughest. On Wednesday night, OSU visits Iowa State, which saw its 22-game home win streak end in controversial fashion last week.
"I'd rather play at Kansas than Iowa State, when you have a team that can just shoot 3s at home," Le'Bryan Nash said. "It's a crazy place."
When the teams met last year in Ames, Scott Christopherson banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cyclones a 71-68 victory, a classic case of Hilton Magic.
"I have no clue (where the magic comes from) and I'm not interested in finding out, either," Williams said. "... I expect a dogfight. It's a dogfight there with everybody."
The magic ran out against Kansas last week, when officiating might have cost Iowa State the game. The Big 12 admitted a pair of late bad calls the next day.
After self-destructing at Oklahoma on Saturday, the Cyclones need to avoid a third consecutive loss to get off the NCAA Tournament bubble. Throw in Senior Night for six players, and Hilton Coliseum could be intimidating.
But the Cowboys' confidence has grown during a stretch in which they have won 10 out of 11 games. The season's first conference road win occurred Feb. 2 in a monster upset at No. 2 Kansas.
Before that win, OSU was 6-30 on the road in the Big 12 under Travis Ford.
"I heard what everybody was saying about us on the road ... but it wasn't that we were trying to lose," Ford said.
Winning on the road hasn't been a new experience for Ford, whose UMass squad won a nation-best 12 road games in 2007 and a year later became the first team to beat Syracuse at the Carrier Dome twice in a season.
"I've seen both sides of it," Ford said. "You can't get too high and you can't get too low."
He's passed that mentality on to his players.
"If you can win at Allen Fieldhouse, you can win pretty much anywhere," Phil Forte said. "But you can also lose anywhere, especially in the Big 12, if you don't bring your "A" game that night.
"We just have to go in (to Iowa State) with the mindset and be really dialed in and focused."
For the most part, OSU has been focused since its bye week, which arrived three games into the league schedule. Ford labeled the seven days between games "Commitment Week."
"We came into the conference season pretty confident - maybe a little overly confident, feeling too good about ourselves," Ford said. "We got back to the basics. ... I think it caught our guys a little by surprise the type of things we were doing."
And how early they were doing them. Two-a-day practices started at 6 a.m.
"When you've got a great coach like coach Ford, you've got to do whatever he says," Nash said. "He knows it's the best thing for you."
But at the time?
"We were like, 'Oh, man. Why are we doing all this?' " Nash said. "Now, it's paying off."
OSU (22-6, 12-4 Big 12)
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F|| Nash ||6-7|| 13.9 ||4.1|
|F ||Cobbins|| 6-8 ||6.9|| 6.3|
|C ||Jurick ||6-11|| 3.2 ||6.1|
|G ||Brown ||6-3|| 15.7|| 4.6|
|G|| Smart ||6-4|| 14.6 ||5.6|
Iowa State (19-10, 9-7 Big 12)
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F|| Ejim|| 6-6 ||10.8|| 9.4|
|F ||Niang|| 6-7|| 11.5 ||4.7|
|G ||Babb|| 6-5|| 9.3 ||3.1|
|G ||Lucious|| 5-11|| 10.0|| 5.6*|
|G ||Clyburn|| 6-7|| 14.6 ||7.1|
*assists per game
At Iowa State
6 p.m. Wednesday
Radio: KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: Road-tested OSU plays at Iowa State
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
OSU center Philip Jurick pleads his case after fouling out last season at Iowa State. Associated Press file