February 22, 2013
Oklahoma State is one of the most difficult teams in the country to get a read on.
And tonight was a perfect example of why.
Marcus Smart shot 2-14 from the floor on Wednesday night. Le'Bryan Nash was 3-10. Phil Forte went 4-12 but shot just 1-8 from beyond the arc. And despite the fact that three of their most important players struggled mightily, Oklahoma State still had the ball with a chance to win the game on the final possession of regulation. And overtime. And double-overtime.
The Pokes ended up losing 68-67 — which, frankly, feels like the first time that Travis Ford's club has lost a game that has gone down to the wire this season — but they were right there with the No. 9 team in the country despite putting together this putrid performance offensively.
This has happened before to Oklahoma State. The Pokes were able to knock off Baylor in overtime on their home floor with Smart and Markel Brown shooting a combined 8-38 from the field.
Because, while Smart is the one getting the Player of the Year and NBA Draft attention and Brown leads the team in scoring and highlight reel dunks, Oklahoma State is actually quite balanced. They have a number of weapons offensively, they have a versatile roster that will only continue to get better defensively with Brian Williams back in the mix, and they have a group of guys that know their roles.
Philip Jurick is in their to be big and block shots.
Michael Cobbins is the glue guy, chasing down offensive rebounds and helping to protect the rim defensively.
While it can backfire at times, Nash has embraced the idea of being the third-option offensively.
It's tough to really get a sense of a team in a game that was as ugly and choppy as Wednesday night's battle atop the Big 12 was, but Oklahoma State's record is not a fluke.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.