STILLWATER — Kevin Durant made the effort to visit Gallagher-Iba Arena and catch Oklahoma State in action this season.
Now the Cowboys are making it easier on him … they hope.
Oklahoma State returns to the All-College Classic with a date at Durant's personal playground — Chesapeake Energy Arena — facing Louisiana Tech on Saturday in a doubleheader with the OSU women's team. The Cowboys play at 1 p.m., followed by the Cowgirls and South Florida at 3:30.
“Hopefully KD will come again and watch us,” OSU forward Kamari Murphy said with a grin.
Durant could be available, with Thunder home games set for Friday and Sunday. And with his new digs in the Deep Deuce section of downtown, it's a far easier trek than I-35 to Highway 51.
More than just Durant, though, the Cowboys are hoping for a big and boisterous — and orange — crowd as they bring their No. 7 national ranking to Oklahoma City.
“I've always enjoyed playing in Oklahoma City,” said OSU coach Travis Ford. “Our kids enjoy playing in Chesapeake Arena, where the Thunder play; it's kind of a neat deal for them. Hopefully we'll get a good crowd, because it is a good atmosphere.”
Louisiana Tech shapes up as a good opponent.
The Bulldogs enter at 8-2, after returning 11 players and their top three scorers from a year ago, when they went 27-7 and won the WAC regular season championship, before faltering in the conference tournament, costing them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The 27 wins were the second-most in school history. And the season included an 18-game winning streak and appearance in The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in 28 years.
Now a member of Conference USA — and the league favorite according to most preseason publications — Tech is led by guard Raheem Appleby, who is averaging 16.8 points a game as a contender for C-USA Player of the Year.
“A very talented team,” Ford said. “A very experienced team.”
And a potentially dangerous team.
Maybe not as well known as the talented Tech teams that featured Karl Malone and once played Oklahoma in the All-College in 1984, yet a team capable of testing the Cowboys as they come off a week of final exams.
Ford will be sure and press that message, even if the Bulldogs arrive as a bit of an unknown. And he'll have to, with Louisiana native Brian Williams no help in providing any kind of scouting report.
“Honestly, I don't know anything,” said Williams, who hails from Baton Rouge, some four hours southeast of Tech's campus in Ruston.
Amazingly, Williams said he isn't familiar with any of the players, either.
“Not one person on the roster,” he said.
Saturday provides a chance to get acquainted.