Feb. 15, 2013
No. 17 Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma
12:45 pm | Saturday, February 16, 2013
Stillwater, Okla. | Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611)
Television — Big 12 Network
Dave Armstrong | play-by-play
Bryndon Manzer | analyst
Cox (OKC) — 11
Cox (Tulsa) — 10
Suddenlink — 11
direcTV — *
Dish — *
AT&T U-Verse — *
* check local listings
Radio — Cowboy Radio Network
Dave Hunziker | play-by-play
John Holcomb | analyst
Satellite Radio — Sirius 138 • XM 195
Oklahoma State returns home after back-to-back road games to host the Oklahoma Sooners in Bedlam on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 12:45 pm inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. The game will be televised by the Big 12 Network, with Dave Armstrong handling the play-by-play duties and Bryndon Manzer adding expert analysis.
About Oklahoma State
OSU is 18-5 overall and 8-3 in Big 12 action following a 91-67 victory at Texas Tech. The Cowboys are currently on a six-game winning streak and in a three-way tie for 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. 15 in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.
Markel Brown leads OSU offensively, averaging 15.8 ppg while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. Marcus Smart is second with his 14.4 ppg, while Le’Bryan Nash is chipping in 12.8 ppg. Smart leads the Pokes in assists (104) and steals (68). Philip Jurick is the team leader in rebounds, averaging 6.8 per game. Phil Forte is also averaging double figures in scoring at 11.3 points per contest and shooting 87.9 percent from the free-throw line.
The Cowboy defense is limiting its opponents to just 60.8 points per game and 38.8 percent shooting from the floor. OSU has held 17 opponents under 68 points this year, and is second in league-games only in scoring margin (+7.9 ppg) and rebounding margin (+3.7 rpg). Five Cowboys have blocked 17 or more shots this season: Jurick has 25, Michael Cobbins has 24, Brown has 20, Smart has 19 and Kamari Murphy has blocked 17 shots.
Oklahoma is 16-7 overall and 7-4 in league play after Monday’s 75-48 win over TCU in Norman. The Sooners are tied for fourth in the Big 12. OU is led by senior forward Romero Osby who is averaging 13.8 ppg and 6.6 rpg. Senior guard Steven Pledger is chipping in 10.6 ppg and 3.2 rpg, while junior forward Amath M’Baye is averaging 10.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg. As a team, Oklahoma has a +5.0 scoring margin and a +1.7 rebounding edge. The Sooners are 2-3 on the road this season in Big 12 play. Lon Kruger is in his second season as head coach at OU and has a 31-23 record. He is 510-327 in his 27th season overall as a head coach.
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).
• Oklahoma State is 2-1 against opponents which have already reached 20 victories this season — defeated Akron (20-4), defeated Kansas (20-4), and lost to Gonzaga (24-2).
• OSU, Indiana and Arizona are the only top-25 teams that also rank among the top 30 nationally in free-throw percentage.
• OSU’s current six-game winning streak is tied for the 13th-longest active streak.
• Phil Forte ranks fifth nationally for three-pointers made by a freshman.
• Marcus Smart has the most assists by any freshman on a team currently ranked in the top 25.
• Michael Cobbins has more blocked shots than any other sophomore in the Big 12 and the second-most rebounds by a league sophomore.
Series History vs Oklahoma
Oklahoma leads the all-time bedlam series 129-94, although Oklahoma State is 60-42 vs the Sooners in Stillwater. OU is 80-26 at home, and OSU leads 7-6 on neutral courts.
Oklahoma has won the last two meetings and three of the last four, holding the Cowboys below 70 points in each of those games. The one time OSU did score 70 points in the last four meetings, the Cowboys won 72-65.
Oklahoma State has won five of the last nine games between these two teams, dating back to a 71-70 win over the sixth-ranked Sooners on March 12, 2009, in the Big 12 Championship. Since then, neither team has been ranked, until this meeting. Oklahoma State is 16-14 vs Oklahoma as a ranked team and 13-12 as a higher-ranked team.
Current Cowboys vs OU
• Markel Brown has played five games and started three vs OU. He is averaging 11.2 ppg, including 19 earlier this season. He’s also averaging 4.4 rpg.
• Michael Cobbins has played three and started two games vs Oklahoma. He is averaging 6.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg and shooting 64.3% (9 of 14) from the floor. He also has five blocks vs the Sooners.
• Philip Jurick has played three games and started two vs OU. He is averaging six rpg and shooting 80% (4 of 5) vs the Sooners.
• Le’Bryan Nash has started three games vs OU, averaging 14.3 ppg and six rpg. He is 12 of 16 (75%) from the line, but just 35.7% (15 of 42) from the field.
• Christien Sager has played in three games vs Tech and has scored 10 points.
• Brian Williams started both games last season vs Oklahoma, averaging 12 ppg, 3.5 rpg and two apg. He averaged 35.5 minutes in the two games.
Last Time vs the Sooners
Oklahoma connected on 8 of 13 shots from long range, propelling the Sooners to a 77-68 victory on Jan. 12 in Norman. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, shot a paltry 28.6 percent from beyond the arc and just 39.3 percent overall.
Markel Brown scored a game-high 19 points while Phil Forte added 12 off the bench, but the two combined to shoot just 7 of 24 from the field and 5 of 17 from long range. Marcus Smart got strapped with two fouls early, was forced to the bench and played just 27 minutes.
Le’Bryan Nash scored 12 on 5-of-9 shooting, but committed four turnovers, as did Brown and Smart.
Romero Osby had a team-high 17 points for Oklahoma while Amath M’Baye and Buddy Hield both added 15. The Sooners also shot exceptionally well from the line, connecting on 19 of 21 shots from the charity stripe. After trailing by as many as 14 in the first half, OSU trailed by nine at intermission, and tied the Sooners in the second period.
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.
Academic All-Big 12
Oklahoma State had three student-athletes named to the Academic All-Big 12 team, it was announced this week by the league office. Senior Mason Cox and sophomore Christien Sager were named Academic All-Big 12 First Team, while sophomore Michael Cobbins was named Academic All-Big 12 Second Team. Sager, an electrical engineering major, was given special recognition for his perfect 4.00 grade point average. Cox is majoring in mechanical engineering and Cobbins is majoring in university studies.
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 11 in scoring and four among the top 16. Markel Brown ranks third (15.8 ppg), Marcus Smart ranks seventh (14.4 ppg), Le’Bryan Nash ranks 11th (12.8 ppg) and Phil Forte ranks 16th (11.3 ppg) in the Big 12 scoring ranks. Baylor and Kansas both have two scorers ranked among the top 10 and three among the top 20, while Iowa State has four in the top 20. Not surprisingly, all three of the Cowboys who rank among the league’s best scorers are also among the Big 12’s top-10 free-throw shooters (Nash ranks seventh, Smart eighth and Brown 10th in free-throw percentage).
Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks 30th nationally in free-throw percentage at 74.3 percent. The next-closest team in the league is Oklahoma at 73.8 percent. Five different Cowboys are shooting better than 73 percent from the line: Phil Forte (87.9%), Le’Bryan Nash (77.8%), Marcus Smart (77.5%), Markel Brown (74.2%) and Michael Cobbins (73.3%). 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 leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks 47th nationally in turnover margin, averaging 2.6 fewer turnovers per game than its opponents. Kansas State is second in the Big 12 with a +2.5 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 FG percentage defense, third in blocked shots, third in defensive rebound percentage, fourth in scoring defense, 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 eighth.
Although there are still seven 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 60.8 ppg through 23 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 68 steals through 22 games this season, establishing a school record by a freshman. The previous record was 67 by Byron Eaton. Smart is currently in 10th place on the OSU single-season steals list, and already owns the school record for most steals in league play (previous record was 35 by Tony Allen). Smart averages 2.96 thefts per game, which leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks fifth 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 1.48 per contest. Between the two of them, Smart and Forte have 102 steals, an average of 4.43 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 83 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 4.2 rebounds a game. Philip Jurick leads the team with 6.8 rpg, while Michael Cobbins is grabbing 6.0 rpg. Marcus Smart is averaging 5.8 rpg and Kamari Murphy is averaging 4.5 rebounds per contest. Markel Brown is averaging 4.4 rpg and Le’Bryan Nash is grabbing 4.2 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 23 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 contests.
As a team, Oklahoma State is averaging 4.8 blocked shots per game, good for third in the Big 12 and 46th 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 one deflection at Texas Tech, Michael Cobbins has moved into a tie for 10th place on the school list. He is averaging 1.43 blocks per game in his career, which ranks fifth in school history. With a team-high 25 on the season, Philip Jurick has 72 in his career and is tied for 12th place on the career blocks list, matching his teammate Markel Brown.
Cobbins ranks eighth, Jurick ranks ninth, Brown is tied for 13th and Marcus Smart ranks 15th 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 all five major categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks). Smart leads the league in steals, is sixth in assists, seventh in scoring, 15th in blocked shots and 16th in rebounding. He is also seventh in minutes played, eighth in assist-turnover ratio, eighth in free-throw percentage and 14th in defensive rebounds. That’s nine different statistical categories in which he ranks among the Big 12’s top 16.
Oklahoma State stays home for its next contest as the Cowboys host the Kansas Jayhawks (20-4, 8-3) on Wednesday, Feb. 20, in a game that tips off at 8 pm and will be televised on ESPN2. OSU will then travel to Big 12 newbie West Virginia (12-12, 5-6) on Saturday, Feb. 23 for a 1 pm CT (2 pm ET) game that will be televised on ESPN2.