Dec. 7, 2012
No. 23 Oklahoma State vs Missouri State
3 pm | Saturday, December 8, 2012
Stillwater, Okla. | Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611)
Television -- Fox Sports Plus
Mike Wolfe | play-by-play
Bryndon Manzer | analyst
Cox (OKC) -- 68
Cox (Tulsa) -- 68
Suddenlink -- 75
direcTV -- 677
Dish -- TBD
Radio -- Cowboy Sports Network
Dave Hunziker | play-by-play
John Holcomb | analyst
Satellite Radio -- Sirius 138 XM 203
Oklahoma State will host its second of six-straight home games, entertaining the Missouri State Bears on Saturday afternoon at 3 pm. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Plus, with Mike Wolfe handling the play-by-play duties and Bryndon Manzer providing expert analysis. The last time OSU played six straight at home was to start the 1997-98 season.
About Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State is 6-1 this season and ranked in both the national polls. The Cowboys are ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press poll and 22nd in the USA Today Coaches poll. OSU ranks 17th according to the daily RPIRatings.com.
Even after an off night by his standards, Le'Bryan Nash continues to lead the Cowboys in scoring, averaging 17.1 ppg and ranking second in the Big 12 Conference. He is also fourth on the squad in rebounding at 5.1 boards per contest. Marcus Smart is averaging 14.3 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game while also dishing out 5.7 assists per contest. Markel Brown is third on the squad at 13.9 ppg and is shooting 38.5 percent (10 of 26) from beyond the arc. Phil Forte is averaging 9.6 ppg off the bench, and Philip Jurick is second on the team in rebounding at 6.7 boards per contest, while Kamari Murphy is third on the team at 6.6 rpg.
The Cowboy defense is limiting its opponents to just 59.9 points per game and 35.7 percent shooting from the floor. OSU has held four of its last five opponents under 60 points, including two under 50 (Tennessee scored 45, USF 49).
About Missouri State
Missouri State is 2-6 this season and currently on a four-game losing streak. The last two losses have come to Oklahoma schools, falling to ORU 72-52 at home on Saturday and at Tulsa 61-42 on Wednesday night. The Bears lost to South Carolina in overtime and fell to SMU by one point in Puerto Vallarta. MSU is led by senior guard Anthony Downing who is averaging 14 points per game with 13 three pointers and 32 free-throw attempts. Sophomore forward Christian Kirk is the only other MSU player averaging double figures at 10.5 ppg. Dorrian Williams leads the team with 27 assists. The Bears are coached by Paul Lusk, who is 18-22 in his second season at the helm of Missouri State.
Dorrian Williams, a freshman for Missouri State, played high school ball at Douglass High School in Oklahoma City. Bear redshirt freshman Drew Wilson is from East Central High School in Tulsa. Both are starters.
Series History vs Missouri State
Despite being just 250 miles apart, Oklahoma State and Missouri State have played just seven times on the hardwood, with the Cowboys victorious in all seven contests. The series started in 1938, and has been played in four different locations. The first two games were played in Oklahoma City in the All-College Tournament. There was a 50-year hiatus before the two teams played a home-and-home series in 1992-93 and `93-94. They met once again in the championship game of the 2006 South Padre Island Invitational, with OSU coming out with the overtime win. The Cowboys have also won the most recent games, defeating the Bears 84-70 at home in 2010-11 and 72-67 in Springfield last season.
Last Season vs the Bears
Oklahoma State had four players reach double figures, led by Le'Bryan Nash's 19 off the bench, as the Cowboys defeated Missouri State 72-67 last season in Stillwater. Kyle Weems recorded 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Bears, but the Cowboys made 41 trips to the free-throw line, connecting on 31. Keiton Page added 15 points for OSU, while Jean-Paul Olukemi (13) and Michael Cobbins (10) also reached double figures. Oklahoma State trailed by two with just over four minutes remaining, but OSU hit 7 of 10 free throws and held the Bears scoreless down the stretch.
Against the Missouri Valley Conference
Oklahoma State is 108-53 (.671) all-time against current members of the Missouri Valley Conference on the hardwood, a league in which the Cowboys were a part of from 1925-57, excluding two years during World War II. OSU is 40-11 (.784) all-time against Drake, 29-8 (.784) vs Wichita State, 9-9 (.500) vs Bradley, and 19-21 (.475) all-time against Creighton. Most of those games were played as MVC foes. The Cowboys are 7-0 vs Missouri State, 2-4 (.333) against Southern Illinois, and 1-0 vs both Evansville and Northern Iowa, but never played those four teams as conference members. Oklahoma State has never played Illinois State or Indiana State.
Tough at Home
Gallagher-Iba Arena is a very formidable place to play for opposing teams. Since the beginning of the 1988-89 season, the Cowboys have a 316-45 record on the white maple court, good for a .875 winning percentage. In fact, Oklahoma State has won 176 of its last 180 non-conference games, dating back to 1987, good for a .978 winning percentage.
Of OSU's last 12 losses at home, nine have been to ranked opponents. Since the beginning of the 2007-08 season, the Cowboys have eight wins over ranked opponents inside Gallagher-Iba Arena, including three victories over top-five teams (defeated fourth-ranked Kansas 61-60 on Feb. 23, 2008; defeated the top-ranked Jayhawks 85-77 on Feb. 27, 2010; and defeated No. 2 Missouri 79-72 on Jan. 25, 2012).
Oklahoma State is the only school in the Big 12 Conference that has three different players ranked among the league's top 11 in scoring. Le'Bryan Nash ranks second, Marcus Smart is eighth and Markel Brown is 11th. Both Kansas (Ben McLemore is sixth and Jeff Withey is seventh) and Iowa State (Will Clyburn is fourth, Tyrus McGee is tied for ninth) have two players ranked in the top 11, while Baylor, Texas, TCU and Texas Tech each have one player each among the top 11.
Oklahoma State is also the only school in the Big 12 that has three players ranked among the top 15 in rebounding. Marcus Smart ranks eighth, Philip Jurick is 12th and Kamarai Murphy ranks 13th. Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma each have two players ranked among the top 15.
Four Cowboys are currently averaging at least five rebounds a game. Smart leads the squad with his 7.4 rebounds per game. Jurick is grabbing 6.7 boards per contest, while Murphy is averaging 6.6 boards per game. Le'Bryan Nash is averaging 5.1 rpg and Markel Brown is fifth at 4.9 rebounds.
As a team, Oklahoma State has grabbed at least 40 rebounds in four games this season. Last year, the Cowboys record 40 or more rebounds in a single game just five times.
While Oklahoma State has added some serious firepower to the offensive end of the court, it's on defense where the Cowboys have been flourishing. OSU has allowed more than 65 points only once this season, and has held its opponents to under 60 points in four of the last five games. In fact, the Pokes have held two opponents from the "six power" conferences below 50 points this season.
Equally stifling is the opponents' field-goal percentage. The Cowboys have held five of their last six opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the floor, and only Virginia Tech has shot better than 42 percent so far this season against the Pokes.
Team Free-Throw Shooting
Although it's early in the season, Oklahoma State has already proven that as a team, it has the ability to make free throws. The Cowboys are currently shooting 79.2 percent from the charity stripe, leading the Big 12 Conference. In fact, the next-closest team in the league is Kansas at 74.3 percent, nearly 50 points lower than OSU. The school record for a season is 79.1 percent during the 1957-58 season. Le'Bryan Nash made 13-of-13 free throws against N.C. State, tying for the fifth-most FTs made without a miss by a Cowboy in a single game.
After the loss at Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State dropped from 15th to 23rd in the Associated Press poll, and fell from 17th to 22nd in the USA Today Coaches polls. The eight-spot drop in the AP poll ties for the second-biggest fall in the rankings, matching the eight-spot drop in Dec. of 1951 and February of 2007. The biggest drop in school history was 10 spots in December of 1954.
Seven schools are currently ranked in both the men's and women's Associated Press polls: Oklahoma State, Duke, Kansas, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
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 top-10 statistically in all five major categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots). He is second in steals, third in assists, eighth in rebounding, eighth in scoring and 10th in blocked shots. He is third in minutes played, fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio, fifth in defensive rebounds and ninth in free-throw percentage. That's nine different statistical categories in which he ranks among the Big 12's top 10.
Cowboys in the Big 12 Statistical Rankings
Several Cowboys can be found among the Big 12 Conference leaders in the statistical rankings. Le'Bryan Nash ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring, averaging 17.1 points per game. Only Baylor's Pierre Jackson is averaging more (19.6 ppg). Nash is fifth in free-throw percentage (85.2 percent) and seventh in field-goal percentage (44.9 percent).
Markel Brown ranks eighth in field-goal percentage (43.9 percent), 11th in scoring (14 ppg) and 14th in three-point FGs made (1.5). Phil Forte is tied for fifth in three-point FG percentage (37.8 percent) and sixth in three-pointers made per game (2.0). Kamari Murphy is tied for eighth in blocked shots (1.4 bpg) and 13th in rebounding (6.6 rpg). Philip Jurick is tied for eighth in blocked shots per game (1.4 bpg) and 12th in rebounding (6.7 rpg).
Marcus Smart scored 100 points in the first seven games of his career, the second-fastest Cowboy ever to 100 points (James Anderson reach 100 in his sixth game). However, Smart's assists have led to nearly as many points by his teammates. Smart has handed out 40 assists this season, leading to a total of 98 points by his teammates, two fewer than he's scored. His 40 assists have led to five jumpers, five layups, 12 dunks and 18 three pointers.
The expectation would be that most of Smart's assists have gone to Phil Forte, his teammate since the third grade. That expectation would be inaccurate. Of Smart's 40 assists, 12 have gone to Markel Brown, while 11 have ended up in the hands of Forte. Although, Forte has scored more points (32) than Brown (28) off of Smart's assists, due to the fact that all but one of Forte's baskets off a Smart pass have been three pointers.