Feb. 12, 2013
No. 17 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
6 pm | Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Lubbock, Texas | United Spirit Arena (15,098)
Television — ESPNU
Mitch Holthus | play-by-play
Matt Doherty | analyst
Cox (OKC) — 253
Cox (Tulsa) — 253
Suddenlink — 503
direcTV — 208
Dish — 141
AT&T U-Verse — 605
Dave Hunziker | play-by-play
John Holcomb | analyst
Satellite Radio — Sirius 134 • XM 192
Oklahoma State travels to Lubbock, Texas, this week to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 6 pm in the United Spirit Arena. The game will be televised by the ESPNU, with Mitch Holthus handling the play-by-play duties and Matt Doherty providing color commentary.
About Oklahoma State
OSU is 17-5 overall and 7-3 in Big 12 action following a 72-59 victory at Texas on Saturday. The Cowboys are one game out of first place in the Big 12 Conference standings. OSU is currently ranked No. 17 in the AP poll, 16th in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 16 in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.
Markel Brown leads OSU offensively, averaging 15.4 ppg while shooting 35.9 percent from beyond the arc. Marcus Smart is second with his 14.6 ppg, while Le’Bryan Nash is chipping in 13.1 ppg. Smart leads the Pokes in assists (101) and steals (67). Philip Jurick is the team leader in rebounds, averaging 7.0 per game. Phil Forte is also averaging double figures in scoring at 11.2 points per contest and shooting 35.6 percent from long range.
The Cowboy defense is limiting its opponents to just 60.5 points per game and 38.9 percent shooting from the floor. OSU has held seven opponents under the half-century mark this year, a feat which has not been accomplished since the 1962-63 season. Five Cowboys have blocked 17 or more shots this season: Jurick has 24, Michael Cobbins has 23, Brown has 20, Smart has 18 and Kamari Murphy has blocked 17 shots.
About Texas Tech
Texas Tech is 9-12 this season and 2-8 in league play. The Red Raiders are 8-8 at home this season, including 1-4 in Big 12 games. Tech has defeated TCU on the road and Iowa State at home. The Red Raiders are led by junior forward Jaye Crockett who is averaging 12 ppg off the bench. He’s the only player averaging double figures and also leads the team with 7.1 rpg. Sophomore forward Jordan Tolbert is averaging 9.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg, while junior forward Dejan Kravic is chipping in 9.2 ppg and grabbing 5.3 rpg. Freshman guard Josh Gray is averaging 9.0 ppg and dishing out 3.0 assists per contest. Chris Walker is in his first season at the helm of the Red Raiders.
Cowboy Quick Hits
• OSU has defeated two top-10 teams this season, both away from Gallagher-Iba Arena (#6/6 NC State in Puerto Rico, #1/2 Kansas in Lawrence).
• OSU has defeated three teams ranked in the top-two in the last four seasons.
• Marcus Smart is the reigning Big 12 Rookie of the Week.
• OSU is the only team in the Big 12 Conference that has three different players ranked among the league’s top 10 in scoring and four among the top 20.
• OSU leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks 31st nationally in free-throw percentage at 74.4%.
• Marcus Smart leads the league in steals, ranks sixth in assists, is seventh in scoring, and ranks 14th in rebounding.
• Smart has 67 steals through 22 games this season, tying Byron Eaton for the school record by a freshman. He is averaging 3.05 spg, fourth nationally.
• Phil Forte averages more minutes per game off the bench than 26 Big 12 players who have started at least 50 percent of their teams’ games.
Series History vs Texas Tech
Oklahoma State leads the all-time series with Texas Tech 37-15, although the Red Raiders hold a slim 9-8 edge in games played in Lubbock. OSU has won the last five contests and nine of the last 11.
In those last five games, the Cowboys have not given up more than 68 points to Tech. OSU is averaging 74.4 ppg, while TTU has averaged just 59 ppg.
Oklahoma State is 28-11 vs Texas Tech since the Big 12 formed in 1996-97. OSU is 8-8 vs the Red Raiders in Lubbock during that span and 5-1 in the Big 12 Championship. The Cowboys have not lost three-straight games during that stretch, and the current five-game winning streak is tied for the second longest, trailing a nine-game streak from 1998-2001.
Current Cowboys vs Tech
• Markel Brown has played six games and started five vs Tech. He is averaging 14.3 ppg while shooting 52.2% from the floor and 42.1% (8 of 19) from long range. He has made 30 of 34 free throws, good for 88.2%. He also scored his career-high 30 points in Lubbock last season.
• Michael Cobbins has started four games against Texas Tech, averaging 5.5 ppg and 6.3 rpg. He also has five blocked shots vs the Red Raiders.
• Philip Jurick has played two games vs Texas Tech, averaging 3.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg. He has four blocked shots.
• Le’Bryan Nash has started three games vs Tech, averaging 15.3 ppg and 4.7 rpg. He is 21 of 22 from the line vs TTU, good for 95.5%, and has nine assists.
• Christien Sager has played in three games vs Tech and has scored 10 points.
• Brian Williams started all three games last season vs Texas Tech, averaging nine ppg and 3.7 rpg. He had four assists, three steals and one block. He scored 19 points vs the Red Raiders in Kansas City last year.
Last Time vs the Red Raiders
Markel Brown scored a game-high 21 points and Phil Forte added 19 off the bench, but it was the Cowboy defense that stood out as Oklahoma State defeated Texas Tech 79-45 earlier this season in Stillwater.
Brown was 6-of-8 from the floor, including two treys, and was 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. He also dished out a season-high six assists with no turnovers. Forte was 4-of-7 from long range and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe.
Oklahoma State’s D held the Red Raiders to just 28.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 4 of 22 (18.2%) in the second half. The five starters shot just 25.8 percent, and yet scored 30 of the team’s 45 points. Tech connected on just three of 17 shots from beyond the arc. Jaye Crockett had a team-high 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
OSU outrebounded Tech 43-26 and had 10 offensive boards, leading to a 14-3 edge in second-chance points. Michael Cobbins scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds while Philip Jurick captured 11. Kamari Murphy blocked three shots for the Cowboys.
Back in the Polls
Following victories over Iowa State and No. 1/2 Kansas, Oklahoma State returned to the national polls. This week, the Cowboys are No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 16 in the latest USA Today Coaches poll. OSU was ranked for seven-consecutive weeks following a tournament title at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off earlier this season, but fell from the rankings after consecutive losses to two teams currently ranked in the top 10: fifth-ranked Gonzaga at home and at No. 10 Kansas State. Oklahoma State was ranked as high as No. 15 during the week of Nov. 26. OSU’s jump from 24th to 16th in the Coaches poll is the largest jump since at least 2002-03, the farthest back the on-line weekly polls are available from USA Today.
Weekly Honors Again for Smart
Marcus Smart was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week for his performances against Baylor and Texas last week. It is his fourth weekly award from the conference this season. Smart averaged 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds while totaling 10 assists and nine steals. He had 14 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, four steals and zero turnovers in 42 minutes against Baylor. He then added 23 points, seven boards, three assists, two blocks and five steals at Texas. Smart was also named Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Nov. 19 and Jan. 7, and was the Big 12 Player of the Week following OSU’s victories over Iowa State and Kansas.
Three games — Iowa State, Kansas and Baylor — were nailbiters for the Oklahoma State contingent. All three came down to the last play of the game and all resulted in Cowboy victories.
Against Iowa State, OSU was down four with 2:15 remaining in the game. Three free throws by Phil Forte and another by Michael Cobbins tied the game at 76-76 with 45 seconds left. Marcus Smart made a layup with 3.1 seconds left in the game, and after a pair of botched inbounds plays, the game eventually ended with a 78-76 Cowboy victory.
In Lawrence, Oklahoma State led by as many as 14 points in the first half. The Cowboys still led by eight with just over a minute left, but a furious KU rally cut he lead to one when an Elijah Johnson layup cut Kansas’ deficit to 81-80 with less than 20 seconds left. Phil Forte hit a pair of free throws to put OSU up 83-80, and a steal by Marcus Smart led to a Forte layup as the buzzer sounded.
Against Baylor, the game appeared over when OSU took a 13-point lead with just under seven minutes left in the contest. But, a 14-1 run by the Bears tied the game at 57-57 with just under two minutes left in regulation, and overtime ensued. Down three with less than two minutes remaining in the extra period, Phil Forte tied the game with a trey from the top of the key with a little over a minute to play. A turnover by Pierre Jackson and a missed layup by Marcus Smart gave Baylor possession and a chance to win it. A.J. Walton drove the lane, but Michael Cobbins blocked his shot, and the ball landed in Markel Brown’s lap. The Cowboy junior raced down the court and hit a layup with 0.2 seconds left, giving OSU its fourth-straight victory.
Victory in Lawrence
The victory in Lawrence, Kan., on Feb. 2 has so many ramifications. It is not only a resumé building win, but it also gave Oklahoma State some momentum heading into the final one-third of the regular season. It ended a 16-game losing streak in Allen Fieldhouse, an arena in which Oklahoma State had not won since 1989.
It also marked OSU’s first road win over a top-five team since 1958, when the Cowboys defeated the No. 2 Jayhawks 52-50 in overtime. The team Oklahoma State defeated on Saturday was ranked No. 1 in the USA Today/Coaches poll and No. 2 in the Associated Press poll.
Oklahoma State has now defeated a team ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 at game time for the third time in the last four seasons. The Cowboys defeated the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Feb. 27, 2010, and defeated the No. 2 Missouri Tigers on Jan. 25, 2012.
The Big 12 Conference schedule is computer generated, with a few modifications. However, it’s interesting to note that six of OSU’s weekend opponents this season got or will get an extended break prior to playing the Cowboys. When OSU played Oklahoma on Jan. 12 following a game on Wednesday, the Sooners had been off since the previous Saturday. When OSU played Kansas on Feb. 2 following a game on Wednesday, the Jayhawks had been off since their Big Monday game. Last Saturday, when the Cowboys faced Texas after their game on Wednesday, the Longhorns had been off since the previous Monday. This coincidence will occur three more times this season. OSU plays Wednesday/Saturday for the remainder of league play, while their opponents on Feb. 16 (Oklahoma) and Feb. 23 (West Virginia) both play on the prior Monday, and their opponent on March 9 (Kansas State) will have been off since the previous Tuesday.
Oklahoma State is the only team in the Big 12 Conference that has three different players ranked among the league’s top 10 in scoring and four among the top 20. Markel Brown ranks third (15.4 ppg), Marcus Smart ranks sixth (14.6 ppg), Le’Bryan Nash ranks 10th (13.1 ppg) and Phil Forte ranks 19th (11.2 ppg) in the Big 12 scoring ranks. Baylor has two scorers ranked among the top 10, while the Bears, Kansas and Iowa State each have three among the top 20. Not surprisingly, all three of the Cowboys who rank among the league’s 10 best scorers are also among the Big 12’s top free-throw shooters (Nash ranks seventh, Smart ninth and Brown 11th in free-throw percentage).
Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks 31st nationally in free-throw percentage at 74.4 percent. The next-closest team in the league is Oklahoma at 72.9 percent. Four different Cowboys are shooting better than 73 percent from the line: Phil Forte (86.8%), Le’Bryan Nash (78.8%), Marcus Smart (77.3%) and Markel Brown (73.7%). Oklahoma State has shot better than 75 percent as a team just three previous times in a single season, and just once since 1958. The Cowboys shot 78 percent from the line in 2004-05.
Oklahoma State ranks second in the Big 12 Conference and 50th nationally in turnover margin, averaging 2.6 fewer turnovers per game than its opponents. Kansas State leads the Big 12 with a +2.7 turnover margin. The current turnover margin for OSU would rank sixth in school history. Oklahoma State has had a positive turnover margin greater than 2.0 just eight times in school history, including the school record +3.5 turnover margin created during the 1997-98 season.
Statistically, Oklahoma State is one of the top defensive teams in the Big 12 Conference. The Cowboys rank second in steals, third in scoring defense, third in FG percentage defense, third in blocked shots, third in defensive rebound percentage, fifth in rebounding defense, and fifth in defensive rebounds. The only defensive statistical category OSU doesn’t excel in is three-point FG percentage defense, where the Pokes rank seventh.
Although there are still eight regular-season games remaining, this Cowboy defense ranks among the school’s best. Not since 1968-69 has an OSU squad allowed fewer than 60 points per game in a full season. This year’s team is allowing just 60.5 ppg through 22 contests. OSU has held 10 teams below 60 points this season, including three conference teams.
Keeping it Under 50
Oklahoma State has held its opponent under the half-century mark seven times this season, the most since 1962-63 when the Cowboys held 10 opponents under 50 points. The Pokes limited South Florida and Missouri State to fewer than 50 points in back-to-back games, and accomplished that same feat against UT Arlington and Tennessee Tech. Three times since 2001-02 has OSU held consecutive opponents to under 50 points, and all three have occurred in the last two seasons.
Marcus Smart has 67 steals through 22 games this season, tying Byron Eaton for the school record by a freshman. He is also tied for the fourth-most by a freshman in Big 12 history. Smart averages 3.05 thefts per game which leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks fourth nationally. That average would be the highest in school history, ahead of Brooks Thompson’s 2.91 steal-per-game average as a senior in 1993-94, the current school record. He’s on pace to challenge the Big 12 freshman record of 89, set by Kansas’ Mario Chalmers in 2005-06 in 33 games (2.70 spg).
With his friend since third grade leading the league in steals, it’s only appropriate that Phil Forte has decided to join the mix. The Cowboy freshman ranks fifth in the Big 12 Conference in steals, averaing 1.50 per contest. Between the two of them, Smart and Forte have 100 steals, an average of 4.55 per game. The Baylor duo of A.J. Walton and Pierre Jackson rank third and fourth, respectively, in the Big 12, and have combined for 79 steals.
Top Sixth Man?
Phil Forte has been an instrumental part of the Cowboys’ lineup this season. Despite starting just one game this season, he sees a lot of court time. In fact, in the Big 12 Conference, he averages more minutes per game than 26 players who have started at least 50 percent of their teams’ games. He’s actually averaging more minutes per game than any player who has started for Oklahoma or Texas Tech this season, and has more minutes averaged than 11 of 12 players who have started for West Virginia. Forte is averaging more minutes per game than 62 of the 86 players who have started for any Big 12 team this season, including four on the Cowboys’ squad.
Six Cowboys are currently averaging at least 4.3 rebounds a game. Philip Jurick leads the team with 7.0 rpg, while Marcus Smart is averaging 5.9 rpg. Michael Cobbins is grabbing 5.6 rpg and Kamari Murphy is averaging 4.5 rebounds per contest. Markel Brown is averaging 4.5 rpg and Le’Bryan Nash is grabbing 4.3 per game.
Since 1994-95, Oklahoma State has had three-consecutive games with 40 or more rebounds on only five occasions, including three times this season. The others were in 1996-97 and 1997-98. OSU has grabbed at least 40 rebounds in 11 of 22 games this year. Last season, the Cowboys recorded 40 or more rebounds in a game just five times. The last time OSU had at least 40 rebounds in 11 games was 2003-04 when the Pokes grabbed 40 or more boards in 13 games.
As a team, Oklahoma State is averaging 4.9 blocked shots per game, good for third in the Big 12 and 41st nationally. That average currently ranks as the fourth-highest average in school history.
Three current players also rank among the top-15 shot blockers in school history. With four deflections against Kansas, Michael Cobbins has moved into 11th place on the school list. He is averaging 1.44 blocks per game in his career, which ranks fifth in school history. With two blocks at Texas, Markel Brown tied Cobbins for 11th on the career list with 72. With a team-high 24 on the season, Philip Jurick has 71 in his career and sits in 13th place on the career blocks list, just one behind Cobbins and Brown.
Cobbins ranks eighth, Jurick ranks ninth and Brown ranks 13th in the Big 12 for blocked shots this season.
The Stat Sheet Stuffer
Marcus Smart fills the stat sheet better than anyone else in the league. He is the only player in the Big 12 Conference who ranks among the league’s leaders statistically in four major categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks). Smart leads the league in steals, is sixth in assists, sixth in scoring, and 15th in rebounding. He is also sixth in minutes played, eighth in assist-turnover ratio, ninth in free-throw percentage and 13th in defensive rebounds. That’s six different statistical categories in which he ranks among the Big 12’s top 10 and eight in the top 15.