Cowboy Defense Shines Again As OSU Rolls Missouri State

Saturday, December 8th 2012, 8:25 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma State scored 14 of the first 16 points of the game on Saturday as the No. 23 Cowboys rolled to a 62-42 victory against Missouri State in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The Cowboys sport one of the nation's top defenses so far this season and welcomed an MSU squad ranked among the nation's worst in field goal percentage and scoring. Things went as expected in Stillwater.

MSU entered the game shooting just 34 percent on the season against Division I opponents and had made 3 of its past 45 3-point attempts.

The Pokes laid down the hammer in the first half on the defensive end, leading at the break by 21 points and allowing the Bears to score just 13 points in the first 20 minutes.

And junior guard Markel Brown said the team will continue to hang its hat on its ever-improving defense.

"This defense is a lot better. We have guys flying around and helping each other out all the time," Brown said. "We have a bunch of different guys with the same size who can make switches on different defenders when they need help. It's great going out and playing defense with these guys."

Missouri State came out hot in the second half with a 10-0 run to cut the OSU lead down to 11 when Marcus Smart picked up his fourth foul. But with the team's best player on the bench, OSU responded with an 11-0 run of its own to push the lead back to 22 and it stayed comfortable for the remainder of the contest. The Cowboys' spurt was again led by the defense after forcing MSU into a bevy of tough shots and turnovers.

Brown led the Pokes with 15 points, while Michael Cobbins and Le'Bryan Nash added 10 each as the Cowboys improved to 7-1 on the season.

OSU's defense was outstanding again, limiting the Bears (2-7) to 36 percent shooting and 1-of-18 from 3.

The Cowboys didn't shoot well either, especially from 3 where they finished just 4-of-23, but they dominated the glass with a 46-22 rebounding advantage.

The Cowboys shot 42.9 percent despite shooting just 17 percent from 3, thanks largely to putbacks on 15 offensive rebounds.

Smart finished with seven points, seven rebounds and three steals but struggled at times. He got in foul trouble early in the second half and also committed four turnovers and finished just 2-for-8 from the floor.

Cobbins was an underrated performer in Saturday's game with a team-high eight rebounds, a block and was perfect from the floor, making 3-of-3 shots and converting on all four of his free-throw attempts.

"Michael Cobbins is starting to get his rhythm back, which is good to seem," coach Travis Ford said. "It was good to see that when Marcus doesn't have one of his better days that we can still pull out a win."

The Cowboys are now off for finals and will return to the court Dec. 16 against Central Arkansas in Gallagher-Iba at 3 p.m.