It was ugly, then pretty, then ugly, then pretty again, then ugly to finish out the game. It seems like this is becoming a reoccurring theme for the Pokes. Thanks to a friend of mine, I was able to watch the 79-68 victory sitting courtside mere seats away from Boone Pickens and President Burns Hargis. I also was able to have a short conversation with Coach Sutton who was in attendance. Oh, I'm sorry. Am I name dropping? I didn't even realize. You see, in case you forgot, I was sitting courtside with these greats along with Big Country Bryant Reeves.....ok, now I'm done.
Back to the game, Ray Penn and Keiton Page led the way in their own respective halves. Penn carried OSU in the first half while Page was in a slump (he started 0-5 from the field). It seemed that whenever the team needed a big basket, Penn was there to deliver. He finished with 14 points, including three buckets beyond the arc in the first half.
Penn's scoring and the team defense should have been enough for OSU to control a sizeable lead going into halftime but unfortunately the refs wanted to see things played out differently. Let me first start off by saying that I seldomly gripe about the refs--but this was pretty bad. Guys were being called for fouls in 50/50 loose ball scenarios, Marshall Moses was shouldered to the ground on a drive and was called for a block, Jean-Paul Olukemi was whistled a couple times for phantom fouls. Finally Coach Ford had enough and ended up earning a technical of his own. Let me stop here and say there is nothing more satisfying than hearing an old couple worth millions of dollars screaming obscenities at a referee.
The second half was more of the same from the zebras but at least then they were consistent on both sides of the court when it came to shitty calls. Darrell "Happy Feet" Williams was the biggest beneficiary of their blunders. Mix all this in with frequent shot clock malfunctions throughout the game and it became a basketball game that took longer than a football game. Fine by me. More time to discuss stock market options with T. Boone (ok, really, done now).
Back to the game itself, OSU started hot in the second half thanks largely to Keiton Page catching fire. At one point he took a three that was closer to the half court line than it was to the three point arc and it caught nothing but net. He ended up finishing with a game high 23 points. Jean-Paul Olukemi contributed nicely as well...at least on the offensive side. He finished with 12 points in 18 minutes. Unfortunately, Stanford went after him on the defensive side. It seems like his effort is there as he hustles pretty hard. Unfortunately, his footwork and ability to get around screens are still a work in progress.
Overall, the second half was much better than the first on the offensive side. There was much better rotation and ball movement. On the other hand, the same can not be said for the defense. The game really should have been over with about ten minutes to go but the Cowboys kept letting Stanford back into it. Coach Ford decided to experiment with halfcourt traps and it blew up in OSU's face every time. I'm not sure if they weren't executed properly or not but each trap was easily passed out of and finished off with either a simple layup or dunk.
Still, the game never seemed like it was in the Cardinal's favor. Everybody on OSU's bench ended up getting playing time including Roger Franklin who saw a good amount of minutes due to Matt Pilgrim being sidelined with a nagging shoulder injury. In the end, it was another ugly win that could have been prettier had OSU stayed consistent on both sides of the floor. The Pokes will definitely need a better effort if they plan on beating Gonzaga on the road in nine days.