STILLWATER— OklahomaState seemingly passed in and out of basketball consciousness Saturday against MissouriState.
When engaged, OSU handled the Bears with ease.
Even when not, the Cowboys were never seriously threatened – cruising to a 62-42 win – except perhaps by their coach, who had to witness a lack of focus and stretches of unsightly play.
“When you go out there and hold a team to 13 points and the percentage we held them to,” Travis Ford said of a 34-13 halftime bulge, “I think our guys came out in the second half just thinking they were automatically going to miss.
“They heard it from me in a few timeouts, telling them we’ve got to respond better than we’re responding.”
The No. 23-ranked Cowboys led 14-2 barely five minutes into the game and were in complete control by halftime before an estimated 6,600 at Gallagher-Iba Arena. But early in the second half, the Bears made a run, getting as close as 11 and keeping it there for a while, before OSU re-engaged and pulled away again, improving to 7-1.
“We had a good first half against them,” said OSU guard Markel Brown, “but came out sluggish, slow against them in the second half. We can’t do that on a consistent basis. That’ll hurt us in the long run.”
Against MissouriState, which fell to 2-7, the consequences were minor.
A team in transition with a new coach and a roster that ranks No. 7 among least-experienced teams, based on an average of just 0.83 seasons per player, the Bears struggled offensively against OSU’s halting defense.
MissouriState made six field goals in the first half, shooting 21.4 percent from the floor through the opening 20 minutes. The Cowboys weren’t allowing second-chance points, either, out-rebounding the Bears 28-13.