Oklahoma State men's basketball: Game vs. Gonzaga brings spotlight to Gallagher-Iba Arena

Zags offer a test that will tell Cowboys where they stand.
by John Helsley Published: December 30, 2012
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photo - OSU BASKETBALL / OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL / KANSAS: Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart tries to get around Ottawa's Stephen Feighny during the college basketball game between Oklahoma State University and Ottawa (Kan.) at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
OSU BASKETBALL / OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL / KANSAS: Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart tries to get around Ottawa's Stephen Feighny during the college basketball game between Oklahoma State University and Ottawa (Kan.) at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Accurately sizing up the stakes of Oklahoma State's clash with Gonzaga proves difficult.

Much-anticipated game, for sure.

But …

Statement game?

Defining game?

“I think we've already proven that we're an OK basketball team,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “It's more of trying to beat a really good basketball team. We're not bad. And I think they're great.

“So I don't look at it as a statement game, I look at it as an opportunity to play one of the best teams in the country and see where we're at.”

Ford offers necessary perspective amid the natural temptation to be overly dramatic with the biggest non-conference game inside Gallagher-Iba Arena in decades.

It's a big game, matching two Top 25 teams, yet hardly the most important game in the Cowboys' season, with Big 12 play on deck.

Still, the spotlight is on. And the national media, the fans and, yes, the players know it.

So the spotlight's at stake, for sure.

And more.

Leave it to a freshman to offer perhaps the best take:

“Over the past couple of years, Oklahoma State basketball has been down the drain,” said Cowboys point guard Marcus Smart. “This is a game that can really establish things.”

Establish legitimacy — to outsiders and a fan base apparently needing reason to hop on the bandwagon.

Establish confidence.

Establish momentum.

“It'll be a big game for us, a statement game, and one to prepare us going into the Big 12,” said OSU forward Michael Cobbins.

“It'll be a great test for our team, to see where we're at and how the rest of our season could go.”

The Zags have already mowed through four Big 12 teams, recently adding Baylor to a list of conquests that also includes Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

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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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