Oklahoma State basketball: Travis Ford: Bad end to good season
The locker room scene in the aftermath of OSU's 68-55 loss to Oregon was rough.
Sagging heads and silence ruled, following an NCAA Tournament game in which the Cowboys were barely a factor.
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Still, OSU coach Travis Ford said he tried to remind his team of the positives of the season.
A 24-win season. A third-place finish in the Big 12, one game behind co-champions Kansas and Kansas State. A return to March Madness.
“I told them I was proud of them,” Ford said. “We've had an outstanding season, with a lot of outstanding moments. Between the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, winning with a very young team right out of the gate against some very veteran teams; winning some good home games; going to Kansas (and winning). You can go down the line …
“It was an outstanding season. A disappointing end, but as a season, and the season means whole, we did a lot for a young basketball team. Very proud of these guys.”
Brian Williams, who missed a significant chunk of the season, said full reflection on the season would have to wait.
“I'm more focused on this game,” said a dejected Williams. “I'll probably reflect on how we had a great season later. It was up and down for me, because of injury.
“Overall, it was a good season. We had a lot of guys step up and make a big impact, make big plays. Everybody contributed this year.”
COWBOYS STUMBLED LATE
More than Thursday's disappointing effort, OSU seemed to go into a nose dive at halftime of the Baylor win in the Big 12 Tournament.
The Cowboys played one of their best halves of the season, racing to a 42-24 lead at the half against the Bears. But they found themselves clinging to victory in the end, holding on 74-72 in a rugged finish that carried over to a loss to Kansas State a day later, and then against Oregon.
“You couldn't find a hotter team than we were in February,” Ford said, alluding to a 7-1 record in that month. “But starting with the second half against Baylor, we haven't played very well.”
OREGON SEIZED MOMENTUM
As the Cowboys looked for ways to get back into their game with Oregon, the Ducks kept sending messages that they wouldn't allow it.
And one Duck made it the clearest: forward Arsalan Kazemi, who grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds.