Oklahoma State basketball: Gonzaga loss revealed Oklahoma State's reasons for optimism

OSU NOTEBOOK — The Cowboys' 69-68 loss showed Oklahoma State's potential and its inexperience against a veteran team.
by John Helsley Published: January 1, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart (33) loses the ball against Gonzaga's Kyle Dranginis (3) and Guy Landry Edi (10) as Sam Dower (35) looks on during a men's college basketball game between Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Gonzaga at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart (33) loses the ball against Gonzaga's Kyle Dranginis (3) and Guy Landry Edi (10) as Sam Dower (35) looks on during a men's college basketball game between Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Gonzaga at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

The Cowboys did a solid job containing Gonzaga's big men and controlling the paint in the first half. The final 20 minutes was a different story.

The Bulldogs finished with a 37-21 bulge on the boards, outrebounding OSU 20-9 in the second half. Kelly Olynyk, the Zags' 7-foot center, scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds – after intermission. And seven of Olynyk's boards came on the offensive end, where he scored key baskets on a tip and a follow shot in the final 2:20.

“We had no physicality around the rim,” Ford said. “Philip Jurick and Marcus Smart are physical around the rim. Other than that, we had nobody who's physically battling. And we're going to correct that quick.”

The Cowboys were beaten badly on the boards (41-31) in their only other loss at Virginia Tech.

“Our defense was good enough to win,” Ford said. “But when you're going to give a team two cracks at it, three, of that caliber, it's going to be difficult.”

SMART HAS FAN IN ZAGS COACH

Veteran Gonzaga coach Mark Few was on the staff of Team USA's gold medal team in the FIBA Americas U18 Championships in Brazil. With that team, he became quite familiar with the Cowboys' Smart.

So he watched with some admiration as the OSU freshman turned in a stellar performance Monday night.

“He's one of the all-time greats. I love that guy,” Few said. “He's a warrior. He's a winner. He's the umpteenth level. I'll go into battle with that guy any time.

“I was happy for him, he played great. The best thing about Marcus is as good as he is on the floor, he's even better and a legitimate guy off the floor. You can't help but root for great things to happen for him in his career. It's a no-brainer, it's going to happen.”

WILLIAMS, SOUCEK STILL MENDING

The Cowboys continue to wait for hopeful reinforcements in Brian Williams and Marek Soucek. Williams (wrist surgery) hasn't yet been cleared to return to full-scale workouts, while Soucek (knee) is practicing and went through pregame warm-ups Monday night, but did not play.

“Brian would help us, no question, no matter who we play,” Ford said. “He goes back to the doctor Wednesday. And hopefully we'll have a little better timetable, maybe. I don't know, I've jumped the gun too many times on him already.

Soucek: “He's getting closer. He practiced the last three days, probably 30 to 40 percent of the practice. How far along is he? He's probably 50 percent, as far as health. He's not ready yet.”


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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