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Oklahoma State basketball: Cowboys could be growing up

Saturday's conquest at The Phog — where 102 of the previous 103 teams who entered lost — sniffed of a breakthrough moment for all involved.
by John Helsley Published: February 3, 2013

And they did it despite foul trouble that demanded some crazy combinations.

“We had lineup combinations out there we haven't even used in practice,” Ford said.

And they did it despite three starters on the bench at crunch time, two fouled out and one protected from his shaky foul shooting.

And they won at a place where it's almost impossible to win. Just ask all but one of those 103 previous teams to enter The Phog.

Ask Eddie Sutton, who never won as Cowboys coach at KU.

Now Ford has won there as both a player (with Missouri in 1990) and a coach.

“Everybody talks about Coach Ford can't win on the road,” Nash said. “This should get the monkey off his back. Kansas, it don't get no better than that.

“Hopefully people will get off Coach Ford's back, because he's a great coach. And hopefully, we'll keep getting wins on the road.”

Inside the program, OSU coaches and players felt they were close to getting over the hump. Last week might have confirmed it.

Twice, in wins over Iowa State and Kansas, the Cowboys made winning plays at crunch time that had previously been missing.

Of course, Smart is a major factor. The Pokes have had premium pieces, they've just needed someone to show them the way. Billed as a winner and proving it, Smart's toughness and grit, more than his special skills, is transforming this team.

You saw him on the floor, scrambling for loose balls Saturday. Did you see big man Philip Jurick, taking Smart's cue, on the floor, too?

Smart said it's only a start.

And that's the next step for the Cowboys — to build off the week that was.

But Saturday sure sniffed of a breakthrough moment.

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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