Oklahoma State welcomed TCU to Stillwater for the Big 12 opener on Saturday, and with trips to Baylor, West Virginia, and a home game against Oklahoma looming, this game was a must-win. Oklahoma State proved they came ready to play off the tip, jumping out to a quick 16-8 lead in the first half.
Oklahoma State held their own on the glass in the first half. One of TCU’s strength’s is athleticism in the post and their ability to get on the glass. In the first half, the Cowboys held a 23-15 rebounding advantage over TCU, and a 10-4 offensive rebound advantage. Over the course of the season, defensive rebounding will be an important key for an Oklahoma State team that is undersized in the paint.
Oklahoma State found open shots in the first half, particularly beyond the three-point line, but rarely executed, shooting just 32% from the field, and 2-10 from three point range in the first half. Newberry, Hammonds, and Carroll showed the potential to score, but the absence of Phil Forte was a hitch to the offensive success of the Cowboys in the first half. According to the ESPN broadcast, Phil Forte could be out for the remainder of the season. This was confirmed, sort-of, by Travis Ford after the game.
Travis Ford on Phil Forte's injury: "I'm sure (he's out for the year). That would be my bet." #okstate @OSUSportsExtra— Tim Ahrens (@ahrens_tim) January 2, 2016
Fortunately for the Cowboys, Jeff Newberry turned in arguably his best performance this season, racking up 23 points and eight rebounds.
The Horned Frogs erased a 10 point first half deficit to pull within two points at halftime, in part to a 10-2 run. At halftime, the score was 26-24 in favor of the Pokes.
However, the late first-half run from the Horned Frogs was quickly erased by a 10-1 Cowboy run in the first minutes of the second half. Poor shot execution proved to be a first half anomaly, and ball movement remained crisp as OSU quickly found their rhythm from three point range in the second half.
Around the world, TNT style. #okstate https://t.co/E0gIxSaNmq— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) January 2, 2016
The Cowboys never allowed TCU within arms reach after taking a 10 point lead in the second half. Another 10-2 Cowboy run put them in the driver's seat, and on the verge of a blowout win in the conference home opener. OSU also continued their success on the glass, maintaining a 39-34 rebound advantage over TCU.
The Cowboy lead ballooned to 26 points with just over a minute left in the contest, and the Pokes would end up with a solid 69-48 point win to open up conference play. With a daunting stretch of games coming up, the win over the Horned Frogs should make this team feel a little more confident over the next few weeks.
Most Valuable Player: Jeff Newberry (23 points/8 rebounds)
Notable Performances: Jawun Evans (13 points/3 rebs/3 ast/ 3 steals), Jeffrey Carroll (10 points/5 rebounds)
Up Next: @ Baylor, Tuesday 1/5, 7:00 P.M. on ESPN2.