STILLWATER — Oklahoma State players talk about staying humble and hungry this season in their quest to make a longer stronger run through March.
The Cowboys had a hard time maintaining an appetite Sunday, mostly due to the appetizer status of the opposition — exhibition opener foe Campbellsville, an NAIA team from Kentucky — which OSU dispatched in an 80-70 win at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Still, none of it sat well with Cowboys coach Travis Ford.
“There's not a whole lot to be proud about with our team, that I thought we did particularly well at all,” Ford said.
An OSU team ranked No. 12 in the USA Today Coaches Poll led from the early moments on and was never in any danger of losing, with the final score more indicative of a late Campbellsville surge. The Cowboys led 45-28 at intermission and by as many as 26 points in the second half, with 10 players scoring.
Yet the effort and intensity was uneven, and 14 turnovers and a slim 41-38 edge on the boards clearly irritated Ford. And he said it's a trend he'd been seeing in the days leading into the exhibition.
“It was interesting,” Ford said, “our first two weeks of practice were phenomenal. The last week has not been very good. We played today like we've been practicing, so there will be a lot that we can learn from it.
“I don't think there's any question. We will learn from it. There's a lot of areas that we just didn't do very well in today.”
As for the humble and hungry mantra the Cowboys had been espousing, OSU senior Markel Brown said both were missing.
“We went out there underestimating those guys,” Brown said. “And they played really well as a team. We went out there and we didn't look so good. So, when we get back to practice we have a lot of things to tighten up. We have to go back and tune up some things.”
Brown led the Cowboys with 13 points, while Kamari Murphy added 11 and Michael Cobbins and freshman Stevie Clark had 10 each. Marcus Smart produced a typical stat line: nine points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The second half was a letdown, however, with OSU shooting just 34.8 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes, including a 1-for-8 showing on 3-point tries.
“We didn't come with our A-game today,” Cobbins said. “It was definitely a wake-up call for a few of us. If you come out with a big head, then you see what can happen to you.
“It was a wake-up call, we have to get it right or it will continue to happen to us. It's a good thing that it was early and we get to fix it right away.”
Notes: Junior forward Le'Bryan Nash didn't start and was held out the entire first half, due to a minor violation of team rules. Nash played 15 minutes in the second half, finishing with seven points and four rebounds. … OSU improved to 47-7 in exhibition games since 1989-90. … The Cowboys return to action Friday with their final exhibition, a 7 p.m. contest against Emporia State at Gallagher-Iba Arena.