STILLWATER — Delaware State turned to its prevent defense early Tuesday night.
The visiting Hornets, already with nine losses, did their best to keep the score down with slow, deliberate possessions. Deliberate to the point of their own detriment in the form of seven shot-clock violations.
In the end, No. 7-ranked Oklahoma State fell short of its season scoring average, yet still posted the expected rout, 75-43, before an estimated crowd of 4,000 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
From scouting reports and video study, the Cowboys knew Delaware State's strategy would revolve around clock management. And they embraced the challenge, limiting good looks throughout the long possessions and forcing 17 turnovers.
“If we can hold a team for 35 seconds without giving up a good shot, that means we're all locked in and playing good defense,” said OSU forward Le'Bryan Nash, who finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. “There's no weakness in the defense.
“We knew this team was going to take it all the way down to five seconds. And we knew when we heard 10 seconds, we had to really dig in and make them take tough shots. And that's what we did.”
The Hornets made few shots — 16 of 56 overall — to finish at 28.6 percent for the game.
And then there were the trips when they didn't get a shot at all, most notably the shot-clock failures, which have to rank high on any preferred list of defensive statistics.
“When you get a shot-clock violation, it makes every coach feel great,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “It makes your team feel good. That means you've stopped every option and they can't even get a shot off. That's as good as it gets.”