OSU basketball: Cowboys gave a flash of the future in second half vs. Kansas
Young, inexperienced team could have given up after halftime. But OSU battled back and had an impressive second half.
The first and second halves inside Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday provided a stark contrast for the Cowboys.
Passive and soft through the first 20 minutes, Oklahoma State not only took a beating, it accepted with little resistance.
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The final 20 minutes, however, the Cowboys shoved back.
Ignoring the size and experience disadvantage and shutting out a typically fabulous sellout crowd at The Phog, they revealed some spunk that flipped an embarrassing afternoon into an intriguing final half of basketball.
In this season journey – this “process” as Travis Ford likes to call it – it was a sign of growth when contrasted against the way the young Cowboys wilted against Baylor in Waco several weeks earlier.
It's too early to attach any significance to OSU's spirited final half in Lawrence. A second-half letdown would be understandable for the Jayhawks, who had their way in a 51-24 opening period.
Still, the Cowboys deserve credit for bowing up and battling back, even being the more physical aggressor after intermission. They went hard to the basket. They played hard and they fouled hard, too.
Now, if it was a significant step forward in the development of a team that features five freshmen in its rotation, we likely won't know anytime soon. These things take time to be fully revealed.
But if a year or two from now, the Cowboys are battling in the upper division of the Big 12 and threatening to make noise in the NCAA Tournament, we might look back on Feb. 11, 2012, in Allen Fieldhouse as a turning point.
“It shows a lot,” said Markel Brown, who's been bringing the attitude of late with his hard-charging and hard-jamming play. “It shows we're willing to fight with any team in this league. We got off to a bad start. We had to turn it around the second half.”
These Cowboys are far from a finished product, although Ford has clearly found a comfort in his starting five, which he used for 188 of a possible 200 minutes Saturday, when none of them came off the floor in the second half.
And aside from senior Keiton Page, the other four – Le'Bryan Nash, Markel Brown, Brian Williams and Michael Cobbins – all represent the team's major core going forward. And they'll have help, with Philip Jurick, Cezar Guerrero and Marek Soucek all offering upside with further exposure in the system.
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