OSU Hoops: Bracing for the Big 12
By John Helsley
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The Cowboys put the wraps on a successful nonconference schedule Monday night, blowing away from Texas-San Antonio late for a 79-63 win. OSU moved to 12-2 with a perfect 7-0 mark at home.
Still, what did we learn about the Pokes from their first month and a half? The Cowboys barrel into Big 12 play with more questions than answers.
And a new question, posed by the play of UTSA Monday night, could be critical: Can teams effectively shut down Keiton Page?
The Cowboys’ long-distance dialer has now been held to two points in back-to-back games, after the Roadrunners slowed him with the same approach Gonzaga used in its win over OSU last Friday night. Both teams devoted a man to fronting Page, effectively limiting his touches, and thus, his offensive opportunities as a shooter.
A year ago, teams were so focused on James Anderson and Obi Muonelo that Page regularly found himself with room to work. Such threats are missing this season. Against UTSA, Page managed just three shots and scored his only basket on a back-door cut.
“I think a lot of people are probably going to do that to Keiton,” UTSA coach Brooks Thompson said after the game while copping to copying the Gonzaga strategy.
Why not? If Page can’t fire daggers at defenses from the outside, opponents can commit more help to OSU’s one other consistent offensive threat, Marshall Moses inside.
Now, Thompson said he fully expected Cowboys coach Travis Ford to combat such strategies against Page. And Ford has proven more than capable at making the right moves, although he didn’t sound overly concerned with Page’s lack of scoring Monday night.
“I’m not worried about that,” Ford said. “I’m glad we won with him only scoring two points. That’s exciting for our basketball team.
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