Regardless of what anyone says, there are no moral victories in sports. An ugly win is still better than a pretty loss any day of the week. After all, you play to win the game.
But as die-hard Oklahoma State fans, it's important to remember we are devoting our time to watching young adults. Kids really, who are trying to balance Division I athletics with Division I academics. Despite this ugly season that is most likely only going to get worse, there's one thing that I've noticed. Throughout the talks of firing Travis Ford, throughout the countless empty seats at GIA, and throughout all the injuries, these group of men continue to fight. There is no quit in these Cowboys.
Wednesday night in Norman, Oklahoma State looked excited to play, while the third ranked Sooners looked like they couldn't care less. One team was motivated to play in this rivalry game, and one team looked like they were locked in on the NCAA tournament. Of course, the lack of depth and talent took its tole on the game and the better team won. But damn was I proud of how we competed for the first 30 minutes or so. Jeff Newberry, who has only been with the team a short two years, looked like he had been apart of the Bedlam rivalry all four years. The hustle on the offensive side, and holding Buddy Hield to five points in the first half really speaks to his character.
Chris Olivier, who is in his first and last year as a Cowboy, wasn't intimidated by anyone. He did a better job on Ryan Spangler than anyone else did. He might not have much of a right hand, but boy is he smooth with his left. Olivier is what I look for in a basketball player. Especially a post player. He's always furiously working down low, demanding the ball at all times. I have no idea why he isn't starting. It's clear he's a better player than Mitchell Solomon and Olivier only has a few games left in his collegiate career. It's a shame he's not on a better team, because he could provide some serious depth to anybody fighting for a national championship.
I could go on and on about how much respect I have for this team. Tyree Griffin has impressed me so much. He went from getting a small handful of minutes here and there to playing 38 a night. For someone so small, he might have the biggest heart out of all these Cowboys. Another underrated storyline is the development of Leyton Hammonds. Hammonds has turned into a threat at the small/power forward position and is setting himself up for one heck of a senior year.
I'm going to miss Newberry and Olivier. I wish this season would have turned out differently for two seniors who definitely deserve better. The Cowboys could finish this year 12-20, but I wouldn't want to root for any other team. Go f**king Pokes!