By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
It was over when…
…OSU showed up determined. Tech’s overhauled program and underwhelming roster have no chance of competing with the Big 12′s elite if they come to play. So credit goes to Travis Ford for blocking out the distractions, preparing his players and doing what a high-level NCAA tournament team should do to a conference cellar dweller.
Star of the game – Markel Brown
For the second time during this season-changing win streak, Markel Brown came out scorching hot and seized complete control of the first half with his much-improved shooting stroke. Against Kansas, his five threes and 22 first-half points gave OSU the necessary cushion and confidence to pull off a wild upset. And against Tech on Wednesday, he was even hotter, drilling seven of his eight first-half triples, exploding for 25 easy points in 18 minutes, earning plenty of second-half rest on the bench. He also added four assists, two rebounds and two steals.
Unsung hero – Michael Cobbins
He’s not one of the two stars, but he’s been just as important lately. Cobbins has developed into a consistent rock among OSU’s previously inconsistent interior. Just look at his point-rebound numbers during this six-game streak: 7-7, 10-6, 8-8, 9-13, 4-3 and 13-12. Not eye-popping, but steady enough (to go along with great interior defense) that other teams must respect him, which allows Brown and Smart to roam more freely. On Wednesday, Cobbins went for his first career double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds).
Marcus Smart was poked in the eye early in the second-half, went down briefly, then gingerly strolled over to the bench. He could have gone back in. But there was no reason. So Smart sat the final 18 minutes of the game, to avoid injury and stay fresh. Markel Brown soon joined him, sitting the last 13 minutes. Good news for Travis Ford, who may play the rested duo the full 40 in a big Bedlam bout on Saturday.
Stats of note
-OSU now has as many Big 12 road wins this month (3) as it had in the previous 36 months combined.
-Markel Brown’s first halves vs KU and Tech combined: 15/19 shooting, 12/15 from three for 47 points in 38 minutes. Unreal.
-The Cowboys had a season-high 20 assists on Wednesday. Brown and Kirby Gardner had four, while Nash/Williams/Smart had three.
-OSU’s six straight Big 12 wins is tied for the longest streak of the Travis Ford era.
-The Cowboys hit a season-high 12 threes on Wednesday. Seven came from Brown, three from Forte.
The first half consisted of a whole lotta this
Bedlam in Stillwater on Saturday at 12:30. And from the sound of things, it should be at or near a sellout in Gallagher-Iba. Good. With both teams on the rise, playing exciting tournament-level ball, that’s how it should be.