Oklahoma State struggled to find any rhythm in an 85-77 loss to Gonzaga, and the grades reflect that.
Don’t take this failing grade as an indictment of every call that the officiating crew made. I’m sure many of them were proper and accurate calls. There were just too darn many of them. Sixty-one fouls were called. Sixty-one. According to the CBS crew calling the game, that’s the most fouls called in a non-overtime NCAA Tournament game since 1975. There were inconsistencies, yes, but more than anything, there were just too many fouls called. The game never got into a flow. It was almost unwatchable at points. Swallow the whistle a bit, fellas.
Interior defense: C
The Zags had solid bigs, and the Cowboys struggled against them. Przemek Karnowski had a double- double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and even though Sam Dower managed only three points, he grabbed nine rebounds. More than anything, though, those guys got the Cowboys into foul trouble, namely Le’Bryan Nash. He played only 17 minutes before fouling out. Kamari Murphy and Leyton Hammonds also fouled out. With a short bench, the Cowboys just couldn’t get into foul trouble with their bigs, and that was the case from early on.
Le’Bryan Nash: C
Much has been asked of the wingman this season, playing inside much more since Michael Cobbins’ injury. But Friday was one of the days that he struggled mightily with that challenge. He got into foul trouble and managed only six points and one rebound. The Cowboys just had to have more production from him.
The Viejas Arena was on the small side for an NCAA Tournament site, as capacity is under 12,000, but it made for a great setting. The place was nearly full, and it felt like a big-game atmosphere. Oklahoma State was among the teams that came the farthest, but the Cowboys had a good-sized contingent. Lots of orange. Lots of noise. Kudos to the traveling Cowboys.