January 5, 2013

OSU gets McGruder'd in Manhattan 73-67

Big 12 play finally tipped off with the Cowboys and the Kansas State Wildcats Saturday afternoon, and Oklahoma State is wishing they could hit the reset button.
In one of the ugliest games I've ever seen, the contest was littered with foul trouble on both sides of the ball and a refereeing crew that fully controlled the game from the start.

Regardless of that, the teams had to respond, and they somehow found enough of a rhythm to clear the sixty-point threshold, something no one was expecting. The end result was Oklahoma State's second-straight loss, a 73-67 finish.

Let's get into it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good: Marcus Smart and Markel Brown

They were about the only two men in orange who decided to show up today. The duo combined for 44 points behind Smart's 25, and were the only two Cowboys in double-digits. They also grabbed 5 rebounds each.

Smart hit the ground running as he racked up 10 quick points to begin the game, and once he cooled off and fell into a rhythm, it was Brown's turn to turn it on.

At the beginning of the second half, Smart got into foul trouble by quickly picking up his second and third foul, and while he was on the bench, the high-flying Brown was able to keep the Cowboys in it and delay for awhile until Travis Ford could roll his full lineup back out there. The Pokes have a good thing going with these two, but they won't win many games if they're the only two showing up like they have been the last two games.

The Bad: Le'Bryan Nash

After being ripped by the fan base for a "minor disciplinary matter" last week that kept him out of the starting lineup against Gonzaga, Nash had his second-straight no-show performance.

The entire game Nash seemed as if he was disconnected, almost as if he didn't understand the offense at all. The flow didn't go through him in the first half, and when Ford finally tried to get him involved in the second half, his teammates stopped moving and he was forced into a bad shot selection.

On the defensive end, he wasn't terrible until the end when Rodney McGruder hit two threes while Nash was responsible for him as the teams went down the stretch.
When your leading scorer can't break double-digits against a ranked team, as he has failed to do twice in the last week, things are wrong.

The Ugly: Officiating and late-game execution

If you didn't watch the game, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The game started with a foul being called on the tip off and it was more of the same as the game went on.

Kamari Murphy never saw the light of day, as he picked up two fouls just minutes into the game and was whistled any time he set foot on the court after that. Philip Jurick got similar treatment, and Smart was whistled twice out of halftime as well.

We all love basketball, but when the referees decide to control the game, which seems to happen much too often in the Big 12, it's no fun for anyone.

As far as the late-game execution goes, Oklahoma State was rough. With just over a minute left, the Cowboys had a chance to make it a one-possession game after a defensive stop. Instead of getting the ball to the hot hand in Brown or Smart, they threw it into Nash who was just inside the left wing. He rolled and threw up a fade away that was short after OSU had had a ton of success driving the lane and getting to the line. Why they went away from that, I don't know, but hopefully it'll be fixed soon.

Oklahoma State (10-3, 0-1 Big 12) returns to action Wednesday when they host the TCU Horned Frogs at 8 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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