By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma State lost another Big 12 road game on Monday night, stumbling to a 64-54 loss to Baylor in Waco. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Oklahoma State’s stagnant offense went cold early in the second half, missing five of six shots and committing three turnovers during a crucial four-minute stretch that saw the Cowboys one-point lead turn into a 10-point deficit. The Cowboys threatened late, but Baylor won the game here.
It was over when…
…Pierre Jackson finally got hot. The Big 12′s leading scorer, and Baylor’s sparkplug point guard, was cold most of the night (literally, he had a cold and also couldn’t hit a shot), but eventually found his rhythm in crunch time. Jackson put in five big points in the closing minutes (on a three and two free throws) to seal what had become a dangerous game for the Bears.
Stars of the game – Baylor’s big men
Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson combined for 25 rebounds and 11 blocks. Oklahoma State, as a team, finished with 33 rebounds and only three blocks. And those numbers tell the proper tale. Baylor’s behemoth big men dominated the paint from start to finish, swatting away those who entered the paint and scaring away those who saw the previous failed attempts. Austin is billed as a future pro. He, along with Jefferson, certainly looked the part.
Le’Bryan Nash delivered his best performance, by far, in over a month. After a rocky start, the confidence suddenly returned and the natural talent followed with it. The 6-foot-7 forward poured in 14 first-half points, a bulk of those during an impressive 9-0 OSU run, and finished with a season-high 24 on 10/19 shooting. He got to the rim, got to the line and remained consistently engaged in the game. Good sign.
The Cowboys can win plenty of Big 12 games if they get performances like that from Le’Bryan Nash. But that’s because they can usually count on others to chip in. That didn’t happen Monday night, when a pair of key figures went missing. Phil Forte went 2/9 from the field. Markel Brown (OSU’s leading scorer) went 1/10 from the field. And that usually sharpshooting duo went 0/10 from three-point range (one game after going 10/15 from the field and 6/10 from three). Can’t win when you can’t shoot.
Stat of the game
Oklahoma State is now 1-21 in Big 12 road games since early 2009. Travis Ford is 0-5 career in Waco.
Not sure how I’ve made it this far in an OSU hoops post without mentioning the do-everything freshman. Solid game from Smart, who stayed out of foul trouble and contributed 12 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block. Filling up the box score, per the usual.
Christian Sager is a 6-foot-3 walk-on who would be better served getting decent minutes at an NAIA school. Isaiah Austin is a 7-foot-1 future NBA lottery pick. Can you guess which one is which?
The Cowboys return back to the friendly confines of GIA, a place where they can actually win conference games. West Virginia visits Saturday and Iowa State comes to Stillwater next Wednesday.