The Cowboys had no trouble in Vegas, cruising against Tulsa en route to a 15 point victory. After TU took an early 2-0 lead twenty seconds in, the Cowboys took the reigns, staying ahead of the Golden Hurricane for the remainder of the contest. OSU never looked back, taking as much as a 21 point lead on multiple occasions.
Still, the Cowboys fell into foul trouble early, ending the first half with Cobbins, Nash, Allen, and Griffin all having two fouls. Tavarius Shine and Jeff Newberry came off the bench to play extended minutes, as well as Christian Sager, who made a rare first-half appearance. Shine was a particular bright spot having 10 points, quickly building a reputation as a corner specialist.
The Pokes continued to exert their dominance throughout the second half, holding at least a 15 point lead for the remainder of the game.
Le'Bryan Nash led all Cowboys with 21 points, and Tulsa's previously stout D never really had an answer for him. Nash was virtually unstoppable when getting the ball in space just inside the arc. The defender has to respect his drive and finish, so if he's hitting his pull up from 12-15ft (and he was last night), he's tough to handle. Forte and Hickey both had 14, and were again constant devils on defense (see below). Micheal Cobbins had a forgettable performance, only contributing two points on 1-for-2 shooting, 2 rebounds, and 1 block in 20 minutes.
While Forte is certainly known for his offensive lethality, he went into the game averaging a little more than four steals a game, which is top-5 in the nation. He did not disappoint, forcing three steals against TU. Not only was his defense up to par, but the whole Cowboy squad was just as solid, holding the Golden Hurricane to 35% from the field and 27% from downtown.
SHARING IS CARING?
Oklahoma State had eight assists on the day, two more than they did against Oregon State. Tulsa, who had 12 assists against Auburn, only had two against the Cowboys, and one of those occurred in garbage time near the end of the game.
Forte showed off his inner-Jimmer, knocking down a 27-footer four minutes before halftime. This was his only made shot from three, shooting 1-5 from deep.
In 2013-14, Phil Forte played in every game. He averaged 44% from behind the arc, making 100 of his 227 attempts. That comes out to 2.9 makes on 6.7 attempts per game. He was also deadly from the charity stripe, missing only 14 of his 107 attempts for 87%. So far in 2014-15, the sharp shooter is making 2.8 three pointers per 7.5 attempts a game for 37.8%, and he's shooting a very human 78.6% from the line. Those are both significant drops in areas the Cowboys heavily depend upon.
Shaquille Harrison had the "C'mon, Man" play of the game, intentionally missing his free throw to attempt an extra possession. It didn't do much good, considering that they were down 16.
While it is still early in the season, the number of players seeing significant time early in games is phenomenal. Ford has spoken about the team's depth, and unlike Gundy, I think we can take him at his word. While that rotation will probably trim down as the Cowboys approach conference play, it will be critical in allowing OSU to maintain their much improved defensive intensity (the "Dickey" effect?). The only issue will be coming up with a mix that keeps some offensive possibilities on the court. Leyton Hammonds return was a welcome surprise and easily makes Ford's group a solid 10 deep. Not really sure what to think of Anthony Allen just yet, but it looks like Mitch Solomon is progressing.
HIGH ON EMOTIONS
There's no question that Phil Forte plays with emotion, but pictures from Getty Images have indicated that he really loves that basketball more than life itself.
Have some fun and caption these photos in the comments below.
Oklahoma State will head back home to play North Texas on December 5th at 7:00 PM.