AUSTIN, Texas — For all the negative stats that piled up on Oklahoma State Saturday night at Texas, Travis Ford kept circling back to one.
“Foul trouble,” Ford said.
And Ford said it more than once, to more than one question, after the Cowboys were whistled for 29 fouls in a 58-49 loss to the Longhorns before 9,959 at the Erwin Center.
“Our team, Oklahoma State, was in foul trouble all night long,” Ford said. “That's what happened.”
And it happened in a road game ripe for the taking, with Texas' leading scorer J'Covan Brown limited by an ankle injury and the rest of the Longhorns limited as shooters.
Brown, who averaged 19.3 points entering Saturday's game, managed just six on 2-of-5 shooting against the Cowboys. The rest of the team combined to make 16-of-55 shots, meaning the Longhorns shot 30 percent from the floor – and won.
The Cowboys had their own struggles, shooting 40.4 percent (19-of-47) and turning the ball over 21 times. And then there was the one other thing. Foul trouble.
“They played pretty aggressive defense on us,” Ford said. “But we had a tough time getting into a flow, because every time we turned around they were calling a foul on us.
“I'm anxious to go back and watch the film.”
Texas, by contrast, finished with 17 fouls. The Longhorns shot 29 free throws, making 19. OSU was 5-of-11 from the line.
Ford stopped short of saying some, or most, were bad calls against his club.
“I didn't say that,” Ford said.
He did, however, say that the fouls influenced the Cowboys' play, from their flow to their aggressiveness to their available bodies.
“It's tough,” said Cowboys freshman forward Michael Cobbins. “You like the game to just flow along and get into it. It's hard to get in a flow when you've got a whistle always going off. It's stop and go and stop and go and your body starts getting stiff.
“You've got to learn to play through it.”
By halftime, starters Keiton Page and Le'Bryan Nash were strapped with three fouls, while reserve Marek Soucek collected four in five minutes of court time.
The calls kept coming in the second half, as by the midway point of the period, four Cowboys – Nash, Soucek, Markel Brown and Cezar Guerrero – all had four each. Nash and Guerrero eventually fouled out. For a team down to eight available scholarship players, it was a heavy toll.
Clearly, some of the fouls caught the Cowboys by surprise. Page was called for an offensive foul while shooting a 3-pointer, after getting his defender in the air on a pump fake and leaning into him. Nash was called for a charge that wiped out a basket.
“Something good happened, or we thought something good happened,” Ford said, “we were already clapping and all of a sudden it's, ‘Wait.'”
Here's the kicker: OSU stayed in the game until the final minutes. The Cowboys were tied 42-42 with 7:44 remaining and trailed only by four, 50-46, at the 3:42 mark.
But Cezar Guerrero soon picked up his fifth foul and the Longhorns outscored OSU 8-3 to the finish, handing the Cowboys their first Big 12 loss.
OSU fell to 1-1 in the conference, 8-7 overall. Texas improved to 1-1 and 11-4.
“We put ourselves where we wanted to be in the first half,” said OSU freshman Brian Williams, who scored a game- and career-high 16 points. “But late in the second half… I don't think we finished the game the way we should have.”