Travis Ford dragged into the postgame press conference Saturday night, revealing a body language previously unseen in his four basketball seasons at Oklahoma State.
Ford was exasperated for sure, having just seen his team wilt late in a 66-56 loss to New Mexico in the All-College Classic. Yet it wasn't just the loss, but all-to-familiar story lines that dropped the Cowboys to 6-4 nearing the end of the nonconference schedule that seem to be taking a toll.
* Dreary dry spurts that routinely sink the Pokes into double-digit deficits.
* Unreliable point guard play, leaving the Cowboys with little flow or direction on offense.
* Disappearing acts by key figures, continuing a trend of inconsistent play by guys Ford counts on to carry the day in most games.
* And plenty of regrets, this time a dreadful shooting night – 18-of-56 from the floor, with many of the misses from close range – and vital stretches that beg for playmakers, often in vain.
OSU has played five defining basketball games: Stanford, Virginia Tech, Missouri State, Pittsburgh and New Mexico.
All but Missouri State resulted in losses. And even the win in Springfield required a frantic late rally, at the time hinting of a possible breakthrough, but in hindsight reflective of a disturbing trend that has seen OSU fall far behind time and again.
Where do the Cowboys go from here?
Minus a fast-flip turnaround, this team will be forever pressed to overcome its many major flaws. And there's little evidence that it can right itself into a Big 12 contender or an NCAA Tournament team.
As Ford slumped into his chair to reflect on another disappointing loss, he almost gave off a vibe of defeat, although his signature competitiveness and fiery spirit suggest it was but a moment of weakness.
“Not a whole lot to be said,” began Ford, who is seldom at a lack for words.
And yet, what is there new to be said about a team that stubbornly repeats the same mistakes and poor decisions?
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