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Cowboys Fall to Gators

Cowboys unable to complete late comeback and fall short to start Orange Bowl Classic.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys were in Sunrise, FL for the Metro PCS Orange Bowl Classic on Saturday. The Cowboys came out firing, taking a 9-2 lead. Seven of those points came from Leyton Hammonds on a four point play and a three point basket.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the lead did not last. The Gators went on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 20 with roughly eight minutes remaining in the half. Turnovers were a problem for the Cowboys early with seven coming in the first half alone.

In response to a solid offensive showing by the Cowboys, Florida went to a full court press near the end of the first half to effectively slow them down. The Cowboys kept it close going into the half down one at 35-34.

As the second half started, the turnover woes continued for Oklahoma State. Florida stole the ball on three consecutive possessions leading to either transition points or free throws.

The second half was comprised of a series of runs (mostly by Florida). The Gators' defense stayed in control, using their press gave OSU their fair share of troubles.

The Cowboys found themselves in a double digit hole late in the game but were able to muster a 10-2 run to bring the game within in two points with less than four minutes remaining. The Cowboys had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead and Jeff Newberry threw a reckless pass that was picked off and led to a three pointer by Dorian Finney-Smith to extend the Gator lead back to five.

On the very next play, a Jawun Evans turnover led to more free throws for the Gators. In desperation mode, Travis Ford went to the "hack-a-Egbunu" strategy that almost worked; the forward went 1-4 in two trips to the line. In one instance, Egbunu missed the free throw but the Cowboys missed the rebound. The ball went out of bounds, giving the Gators control once again.

The Cowboys did not have enough to get back in the game after digging themselves in such a deep hole. Jawun Evans made a three pointer with 0.8 seconds left to make it a two point game, but that was basically window dressing.

Florida finished the game with six turnovers to Oklahoma State's 13. A big part of that was 10 steals by the Gators. Couple that with their seven blocks and OSU's inconsistent perimeter defense and inability to get quality shots in crunch time and you have an all too familiar result.

Jawun Evans ended the night with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists against three turnovers. Jeff Newberry and Leyton Hammonds each added 14 points.