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SPORTS: Oklahoma State University

Whistle-Stop Tour: Gonzaga Beats OSU In NCAA Tourney

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SAN DIEGO, California -

There are two giant deficiencies that have lingered over Oklahoma State's basketball team this season: lack of size and lack of depth.

The Cowboys did their best to overcome the first on Friday, but the second, well the second proved to be a major problem in San Diego.

The undermanned Cowboys were rendered all the more so in their 85-77 NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga on Friday in a game that featured 10 more fouls than made baskets.

Fouls were a major storyline from this one, as the 61 total fouls were the most in an overtime-less NCAA Tournament game since 1975.

Oklahoma State is not a team built to sustain a barrage of whistles, much less 33 of them, with only seven available scholarship players.

Le'Bryan Nash, Kamari Murphy and Leyton Hammonds all fouled out. Marcus Smart and Markel Brown had four. So did walkon Christien Sager.

Not a recipe for success.

In fact, Gonzaga scored 18 points in the final four minutes; only two weren't from the foul line. And it could have been worse, as the Bulldogs missed eight free throws in that stretch.

Add that to the Cowboys' slow start, inability to counter Przemak Karnowski on the interior and horrific free-throw shooting, and the Pokes' disappointing season came to a close in appropriately disappointing fashion.

But perhaps more frustrating than the whistles against the Pokes was OSU's inability to take advantage of the calls it did get.

In an eight-point loss, OSU left 15 potential points on the table with a 22-of-37 performance from the foul line.

Even worse: 12 of the 17 misses came in the second half.

Things certainly didn't go OSU's way and when then opportunities presented themselves, the Cowboys didn't capitalize. That was the story as much as the fouls.

As a result, Oklahoma State set a school record with its fourth-consecutive loss in the tourney as a roller-coaster season that began with Final Four aspirations came to an early end with plenty of questions left to be answered in the offseason.

Kevin Pangos scored 26 and Gary Bell Jr. added 17 for the eighth-seeded Bulldogs, who improved to 6-0 all-time against Oklahoma State.

OSU did a solid job checking 6-foot-9 forward Sam Dower, who finished with three points, but Karnowski, the team's 7-foot-1 center, had with way with OSU in the paint when he wasn't dealing with foul trouble.

Karnowski finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds and hit his first four shots.

OSU surprisingly won the rebounding battle overall 40-37, thanks largely to 17 offensive boards.

Smart led the Pokes – in what is almost certainly his final collegiate game – with 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, six steals and a block.

But, for all that he did right, he was still frustrating with seven missed free throws, six turnovers, several questionable decisions and just 5-of-14 shooting.

Brown, the team's lone scholarship senior, had 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Phil Forte was the only other Cowboy to reach double figures with 12 points but struggled on 3-of-12 shooting.

Forward Kamari Murphy was solid for the Cowboys with eight points and eight rebounds against the much-larger Bulldogs. Nash was limited to six points on 2-of-5 shooting in just 17 minutes before fouling out.

Gonzaga advances to play No. 1 seed Arizona on Sunday.

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