“Marcus Smart and Markel Brown usually play well for us,” Ford said. “That's not a news flash for anybody. We're going to have to have some other guys step up.
“There's enough shots missed by us, they should be able to get it without me running a play for them. You kidding me, we come up with five offensive rebounds and we missed 29 shots? We can come up with five? Give me a break.”
Foul trouble played into OSU's lack of balance.
Kamari Murphy picked up his first foul on the opening tip and had his second two minutes later, limiting him to three first-half minutes. Philip Jurick played but six first-half minutes, yet it was enough time for him to amass three fouls, and Smart picked up his third less than two minutes into the second half.
“Foul trouble hurt us a lot,” Brown said. “It took Marcus out of the game for us. It took Phil out of the game. They started beating us up on the glass, getting second-chance points. And it helped them at the end.”
The stat sheet tilted heavily K-State's way.
* Rebounding: A problem in OSU's losses, the Cowboys were beaten 39-29 on the boards, including 12-5 in offensive rebounds, contributing to an 18-4 edge in second-chance points for the Wildcats.
* Assists: 19-6, for the Wildcats.
* Bench scoring: 27-11, for the Wildcats.
* Second-half field goal percentage: 47.1 to 39.1, again for K-State.
“Stats say it all,” Ford said.
That and McGruder's big finish.
While some of the players have changed, with three freshmen playing key roles for the Cowboys, the road result — for one game — was the same.
“We are a very young team,” Ford said. “But we've got some very experienced minutes. So no excuses there. We've played in big games and all of our players have played in big games, whether it's high school or AAU or whatever it is.
“There should have been no surprise. No surprise.”