OSU's season will be marked by many things.
Bad halves among them.
Thursday night's 88-70 loss to Missouri in the Big 12 Tournament offered another, as the Cowboys fell behind by as much as 29 points in the first half.
Mizzou outrebounded OSU 26-10, outshot the Cowboys 55.3 percent to 36 percent and beat them 13-4 in assists and 7-2 in steals.
“We had guys slipping, things were happening,” said OSU freshman Brian Williams. “Things just weren't going our way the first half.”
The Tigers owned a double-digit lead barely five minutes into the game and continued expanding it.
“They were making shots, we weren't. They were getting stops, we weren't,” said Williams. “I looked up, and it was like 21-6 and it was like, ‘Oh, we've got to make a run.'
“We came out in the second half and played hard. But we dug ourselves a hole too big.”
FATIGUE A FACTOR?
The Cowboys, reduced to six full-time scholarship players with three starters lost to injury, started slow against the Tigers.
Did fatigue finally set in on a team that was stretched thin at season's end?
“We expended a lot of effort last night,” Keiton Page said of Wednesday night's first-round win over Texas Tech. “It's tough when you're as thin as we are right now. I think that's what happened, we just ran out of gas.”
Cowboys coach Travis Ford didn't disagree.
“I think fatigue was a little bit of a factor,” Ford said. “Quick turnaround. Not to make an excuse.
“I think Missouri played up on that. That was something they probably talked about, ‘Hey, Oklahoma State doesn't have a whole lot of players. Those guys have been playing a lot of minutes. They played late last night. Let's go at them early.'”
Missouri continued an impressive run of games in the Sprint Center.
With a whipping of OSU, the Tigers improved to 3-0 in the building this season, winning by a combined margin of 267-181.
That includes an 87-58 rout of Notre Dame and a 92-53 romp past California.
The Cowboys season is over, with no postseason plans even if one of the lesser tournaments offered an invitation.
OSU will return a strong core that not only includes starters Williams, Markel Brown, Le'Bryan Nash and Michael Cobbins from this team, but also reserves Cezar Guerrero, Philip Jurick and Marek Soucek, and injured or redshirting former starters Jéan-Paul Olukemi and Darrell Williams.
“We've laid the foundation for what I think is going to be a very good basketball team,” Ford said.
The Cowboys do lose Page, who has been an integral part of the team for four years, the past two as a leader and captain.
“It's a close-knit group, and they're just losing me,” Page said. “So it's a good foundation and I'm looking forward to what these guys are going to do next year.”