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Grading Oklahoma State's loss to Oregon: Cowboys struggle with defensive rebounding, transition defense

The Cowboys were in a funk from the start in a 68-55 loss to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, and never really emerged. And the grades reflect that.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 21, 2013

Ball protection: C. The Cowboys were awful early in treasuring possessions. OSU committed turnovers on its first three possessions and had 10 turnovers in the first 11 1/2 minutes of the game, by which time the Cowboys trailed 19-12. OSU had just five turnovers the rest of the game, and Oregon ended up getting loose with the ball itself and committed 18 turnovers total. But the tone had been set. Smart had five turnovers, and Brown and Nash had three each.

Tournament organization: D. The OSU-Oregon was scheduled to tip off at 1:40 p.m. California time. The next game — UNLV-Cal — was scheduled to tip off at 4:27 p.m. In a different session. So when the OSU-Oregon game lasted until 4:05 p.m., there was all of 22 minutes left until the scheduled tipoff. During which HP Pavilion had to be cleared of all fans, then restocked with those holding tickets to Session II. No way, Jose. What a mess. Blame it on the NCAA's give-in to all television demands.

Physicality: B. Travis Ford was critical of OSU's physicality in the first half, but the truth is, the Cowboys were out-executed and outpositioned more than out-toughed. Smart, Nash and Kamari Murphy all made muscle shots in traffic in the first half, when the Cowboys had only 11 field goals total.

Momentum inducements: D. Ford says the three things that create momentum are forcing turnovers, offensive rebounds and 3-point shots. The Cowboys forced some turnovers in the first half, but they were mauled on the boards and made just two 3-pointers, both in the first four minutes of the game. Thus OSU generated little momentum. Its biggest spree in the first half was 4-0. Its biggest spree in the second half was 5-0, started when Oregon led 54-38. The Cowboys trailed by 11 at halftime and never got within single digits thereafter.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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