Four Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s Win Over TexasPosted by Taylor Erickson on January 9th, 2014
With aspirations of winning the Big 12 conference regular season title entering the season, a loss in the league opener on Saturday at Kansas State wasn’t exactly what Oklahoma State had in mind. The Cowboys returned home to Stillwater for a tilt Wednesday night with a Texas team that has been better than many expected. While the Longhorns managed to keep this game interesting throughout the first half, the talent of Oklahoma State helped the Cowboys pull away late to a fairly comfortable victory. Here’s four takeaways from the action in Stillwater last evening.
- Markel Brown went down hard early in the first half, but the fall didn’t seem to have much of an impact on him as he returned to contribute 27 points, five rebounds, and four assists. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that Brown is probably the most underrated player in the nation. His play is often overshadowed by the incredible performances by Marcus Smart, but anyone familiar with Oklahoma State realizes just how good the senior guard in Stillwater also has been. Unfortunately for Travis Ford’s team, the loss of Michael Cobbins down low paired with the inconsistent play of LeBryan Nash, means that Brown and Smart will have to be on top of their game every night out to carry the Cowboys to a win.
- Stevie Clark‘s suspension for last week’s arrest for possession of marijuana didn’t seem to last very long. Given that this was Clark’s second suspension of the season, there was some speculation as to his long-term future with the program. While Clark won’t jump off the stat sheet at you, he provides a solid backup to Marcus Smart at the point guard position, contributing six points, three assists and three steals against the Horns on Wednesday night.
- With the combination of Markel Brown and Marcus Smart in the backcourt, Oklahoma State throws more alley-oops at a higher success rate than any team I’ve seen in college basketball this season. In the second half, the Cowboys were able to turn Longhorns turnovers and missed shots into an impressive aerial attack on the offensive end of the floor. After watching Kansas miss several opportunities for easy lob dunks earlier in the evening, Oklahoma State made it look easy in comparison. I guess that difference is a microcosm between Smart and Kansas’ Naadir Tharpe at the point guard position.
- Give kudos to Texas for hanging in and keeping this game competitive to the bitter end. Rick Barnes’ squad was up by as many as seven in the first half before allowing Oklahoma State to go on a run to take a halftime lead. The Cowboys opened the second half on another run, and at that point it certainly looked like Texas might get blown out, but the Longhorns were able to keep grinding away to keep the game just close enough to make it interesting. While last year’s Texas team had more pure talent on the roster, this year’s team appears to have fully bought in to Barnes’ system.