Well I think we have learned the key to the Oklahoma State offense... outside shooting (well sorta... really more being able to score from a lot of different places). This offense has proven that when they can hit from the outside, they can be productive. The Cowboys were 8-16 from three which forced Murray State to have to defend everyone all over the court and opened up the offense.
Keiton Page obviously had a good game with 29 points in 26 minutes, and it was nice to see him actively looking for his shot and hitting it. But as is the case with Page, he isn't getting a whole lot of great looks without help... and in this case Marshall Moses and Ray Penn were the biggest helpers.
After the Virginia Tech game I mentioned that Moses is going to start getting doubled, and he is going to have to learn how to find the open man... well last night he did that very well opening up the court for the outside shooters and a few times feeding the other big man. The best utilization of the Moses double team was in a sequence in the 2nd half when Penn and Moses were playing a 2-man game isolated on one side of the court. Penn dumps it down low and Moses just waits. He dribbles one direction a little, and as soon as Penn's defender came to him he hit Penn for a wide open three. It was obvious that was Moses intention as soon as he got the ball, and instead of getting impatient he waited for it to happen. His overall game has improved a ton this season.
Penn finished with a so-so stat line (13 points, 1 ast, 3 TOs), but there is no stat for handling halfcourt pressure and avoiding traps. Murray State tried to mirror the pressure defense that VT was so successful with, but Penn just wouldn't let them. Instead of waiting for the defenders to come to him and getting trapped, Penn just used his speed and attacked, weaving through defenders and finding open Cowboys with ease. Without Penn's ball-handling, the Cowboys would have scored 15 fewer points.
If Darrell Williams could finish at the rim he would be a decent candidate for Big XII newcomer of the year. The guy gets so many loose balls, rebounds, and passes down low... he just isn't finishing for whatever reason. A lot of times it seems like he is hurrying too much and doesn't have full control when he goes up, other times it looks like he just blows it. Whatever the issue is, if this gets fixed then the combo of him and Moses down low is very promising.
On the other side of the ball, the defense was very impressive holding Murray State to 38% shooting and didn't send them to the line as much as previous opponents. The Cowboys opponents have shot 28, 26, 23, 19, and 31 free throws in the 5 games before Murray State... but the Racers only shot 11 free throws and made 7 of them. Murray State's lack of size definitely helped with this, but the defensive rotation was nice and guys were going straight up to disrupt shots without making too much contact.
Overall solid game by the Pokes who we will next see in Gallagher Iba on Wednesday to take on Central Arkansas Bears.