A three-game losing streak. Two player defections.
Outside perception suggested internal problems at OSU.
Not so, said the two key figures in the Cowboys' 68-58 double-overtime win over SMU on Wednesday night in Dallas.
“A lot of times you don't know how guys will handle it when you're facing adversity,” said senior captain Keiton Page, who scored a game-high 27 points. “But our guys have been great at keeping their heads up and their emotions high.
“Our team stuck through it and came out with a good win.”
The Cowboys had to rally both in regulation and the first overtime, before scoring the game's final 16 points.
“Every huddle, 1-2-3 family,” said Cezar Guerrero, who scored nine points in the second overtime and 14 overall. “The OSU family always sticks together, and we are just a big family that sticks together and loves each other every step of the way.”
PAGE PICKS UP
Page's 27 points, a season high, were just two off his career-best of 29 against Murray State back in 2010.
It came after he scored a season-low three points in last week's loss to Alabama.
Not that it was unexpected. Of Page's five best scoring games, four have come after games in which he scored three points or less.
“Maybe just coincidence,” Page said. “I know I don't like to have bad games, so after a bad game I'm always trying to recoup and come out and have a good one. Hopefully, I don't have any more of the bad ones. But I'll take the ones like tonight.”
The Cowboys, after playing five games outside of Gallagher-Iba Arena, return home Saturday to face Virginia Tech.
The New Year's Eve game tips off at 11 a.m. and admission is free.
It's a rematch of the third-place game in the NIT Season Tip-Off, won by the Hokies, 59-57.
NO HOME COOKING
Cowboys freshman Le'Bryan Nash was hopeful for a happy return home where he starred as a prep player at Dallas Lincoln.
But with a sizable contingent of family and friends on hand, Nash struggled, making just 2-of-10 shots from the floor and totaling four points in 28 minutes.
“I thought SMU did a really good job on him,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “I don't think it was as much LB — he maybe took one bad shot — it was more SMU saying, ‘Hey, we're not going to let Le'Bryan Nash beat us.'
“Give them credit.”
OSU won the bench battle, with a 27-13 edge in bench scoring.
Guerrero was the big producer with 14 points, while Brian Williams added nine and Michael Cobbins four. Williams also added seven rebounds, while Cobbins grabbed five boards and blocked two shots, including one at the end of the first overtime.