OSU coach Travis Ford started trying to guard against a post-Kansas hangover immediately following Saturday's big win in Lawrence, going low-key in the post-game press conference.
It was a message he wanted his players to comprehend, with Baylor — a team that had already beaten the Cowboys — due up next in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Easier said than done, Ford said, after watching his team scuffle through a 69-67 win over the Bears on Wednesday night.
“We started on Monday talking about the next game,” Ford said. “But they can't go around the corner without being congratulated. And we love it. But there was no way to forget about it. There was no way to shake it. Every time you turn around, someone's wanting to talk about it.”
By the time the team bus returned to Gallagher-Iba on Saturday night, some 200 fans and the spirit band were waiting to great the Cowboys. And the buzz, looking back, has continued on this week.
“But we're excited about it,” Ford said. “We're glad the fans got excited, the students. We wouldn't have it any other way. But yes, we're definitely 18-, 19-, 20-year old kids on the court.”
COBBINS COMES THROUGH
While most of the Cowboys struggled through uneven performances Wednesday night, forward Michael Cobbins continued his recent strong play.
Cobbins grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, scored nine points and blocked two shots, including Baylor's final attempt in overtime.
“We continue to challenge Michael all the time to have a physical presence inside,” Ford said. “To have a physical presence about him. How do you have presence? You block shots. You defend. You rebound above the rim. That's how you let yourself be know.
“Last couple of games, he's had a major presence.”
COWBOYS SURPASS 2011-12 WIN TOTAL
As OSU pushed its winning streak to four games, it also improved its overall record to 16-5, surpassing the win total for all of last season.
And nine conference regular season games remain.
The Cowboys finished 15-18 a year ago.
“Last year, just a lot of adversity,” Cobbins said. “I think it's just the toughness of the team. Sticking together, and just wanting to do it for everybody else. Everybody coming together on the court and playing as a unit, on the same page, and have the same mindset. And give it up for 40 minutes.”
SMART PUSHES THROUGH
For Marcus Smart, his stat line against Baylor wasn't pretty, with a career-worst 4-for-21 shooting night providing a major blemish.
Still, there were plenty of positives, too.
Smart finished with seven assists and four steals, with no turnovers. He also made 5-of-6 shots from the foul line and led the Cowboys with 14 points.
“I played decent,” he said. “It's not one of my best games, but I did what I had to do to help my team win. I had seven assists and four steals and zero turnovers. That's what you want out of your point guard.
“My shot wasn't falling for me. My teammates, they were on tonight. They came through in the clutch and that's all I'm worried about.”
Saturday: at Texas, 12:45 p.m.
Wednesday: at Texas Tech, 6 p.m.
Feb. 16: Oklahoma, 12:45 p.m.
By John Helsley