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Oklahoma State basketball: Three pressing issues the Cowboys must address

The Cowboys remain good, potentially great, with talent and athletes to rival any squad in the country. But Saturday's loss to Kansas State shows they have issues to tend to in confirming their status as a Big 12 contender and a player nationally.
by John Helsley Published: January 5, 2014


photo - Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown, bottom, dives for the ball with Kansas State forward Wesley Iwundu, top, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. Kansas State defeated Oklahoma State 74-71. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown, bottom, dives for the ball with Kansas State forward Wesley Iwundu, top, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. Kansas State defeated Oklahoma State 74-71. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

“I think in the short run, it's going to have a minimal effect,” ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said of the Cobbins loss. “But where it could have a major effect is over the course of 18 league games. Because sprained ankles and foul troubles are going to pop up for every team. And it leaves Oklahoma State with one less interior body.”

What to do with Stevie?

Ford offered little insight into Clark's future with the team on Saturday. Yet the fact that the freshman accompanied the team to Manhattan suggests that he's safe — for now.

One program insider suggested that the charges against Clark could be dismissed, with the drive of the vehicle, Marcus Caddell, insisting the weed belonged to him.

Still, Clark has made news — bad news — twice now in his short Cowboys career. And it simply can't continue.

Whether Clark is in the right or wrong in this latest incident, he needs to push himself away from all characters or situations that could create problems.

He could be a valuable piece for the program, both immediately and in the future. But the Cowboys can't allow him to become a distraction for a veteran core that prides itself on doing the right thing.

A foul stench

It seemed like only a matter of time before OSU's shaky foul shooting proved costly.

Against the Wildcats, the Cowboys missed nine free throws.

And lost by three.

For the season, OSU ranks No. 105 nationally in free throw percentage at 71.7 percent. And even the shooters are struggling.

Smart is making just 67.8 percent on a team-high 90 attempts. Nash is at 72.3 percent, Williams 80 percent and Brown 81.6 percent, getting a boost from a 12-for-14 effort Saturday.

The Cowboys' aggressive, driving style predicates frequent trips to the foul line.

Good teams cash the free money.

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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