The injury report didn't get any better for OSU Friday.
Already without starting forward Jéan-Paul Olukemi, who injured his knee in Thursday's win over Akron in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, the Cowboys lost reserve big man Marek Soucek late in Friday's 62-45 win over Tennessee to another apparent knee injury.
Already, Brian Williams has been lost for the year (wrist) and Michael Cobbins (big toe) is projected to miss another three weeks or more.
The word surrounding Olukemi is not good, with further examination due when the team returns to Stillwater. And Cowboys coach Travis Ford didn't sound optimistic about Soucek.
“It looks like he's out for a while,” Ford said on the team's radio broadcast. “It's just one thing after another.”
Adding insult to injury, Ford said the Cowboys, now 3-0, may have been spurred by some unkind words and criticism of the team.
“I think our guys are very humble, but they're hungry to play hard,” Ford said. “Our guys realize that we're several men down at this point. We get that. We're not going to pout about it or say much about it or make excuses about it. But it is what it is.
“We were playing against a team today with a high reputation, one of the top teams in the SEC. And our guys, they've talked about proving themselves. They came talking about some of our former players tweeting about our basketball team, some negative things, so they wanted to come out and prove some things.”
NASH KEEPS IT UP
After Ford called Le'Bryan Nash's performance against Akron perhaps the best of his young career, the sophomore forward backed it up with another strong outing against Tennessee.
Nash scored 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and got to the foul line, where he made 11 of 13 free throws. More than that, he was good on the defensive end, where he even played the low post at times in the second half.
SMART FILLING BIG ROLE
Much was expected of freshman Marcus Smart when arrived as a touted recruit.
And so far Smart is delivering, including major minutes.
Smart scored 17 points, grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and handed out three assists, with two steals. He also played 37 minutes, after going 32 in the tournament opener.
“I knew I was going to be playing big minutes for this team,” Smart said. “Coach Ford told me. This is what I've been working for.”