Oklahoma State basketball: Missouri was a surprisingly favorable matchup for Cowboys

OSU BASKETBALL — A lot needed to go right for Oklahoma State's men's basketball team to upset No. 2 Missouri on Wednesday night. The Cowboys needed to have a good night shooting and for their freshmen to contribute. But even needing all that, it was a matchup that favored the Cowboys.
BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Modified: January 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm •  Published: January 26, 2012

Before practice Monday afternoon, Travis Ford was asked what would qualify as his team's “best win” in this frustrating season.

It was clearly a setup to the significance an upset of No. 2 Missouri would represent.

Ford mentally thumbed through Oklahoma State's wins, picking out the road conquest at Missouri State, home wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

“Yeah, Missouri would be it,” Ford said with a chuckle of acknowledgement at the seemingly tall task at hand for his young team.

Bingo.

The Cowboys produced their best effort of the season Wednesday night, rallying past the Tigers for a 79-72 win that prompted a rushing of the court inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

For a change, several Cowboys had it going, a departure from their usual hit-and-miss nature that has contributed to their offensive struggles. OSU shot 59.6 percent from the floor, easily their best shooting night so far. Two freshmen, Le'Bryan Nash and Brian Williams, combined for 49 points. And the Pokes again played the underrated solid defense that has allowed them to hang around in games, even most of their losses.

But the big key for OSU, as crazy as it may seem: Mizzou made for a favorable matchup.

It wasn't a tall task in the literal sense.

The Cowboys' biggest weaknesses are exposed against bigger teams who have out-muscled and outrebounded them at an alarming rate, especially on the offensive boards, resulting in too many second-chance points.

Mizzou starts four guards along with 6-8 forward Ricardo Ratliff filling the middle.

The Cowboys have athletes. They don't have bangers.

So the Tigers were a manageable matchup.



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