Not Must-Win, But Much-Needed for Pokes

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:31 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Jan 8, 2011 5:58 PM CDT

You can call in an upset, but in the mildest sense of the term.  The Cowboys beat preseason Big 12 favorite Kansas State Saturday.  It wasn’t a must win, but it’s sure nice to get it considering what lies ahead for Travis Ford’s club.

Ford has done a great job of bringing along juco transfer Jean Paul Olukemi and talented true freshman Markel Brown.  The Cowboys are super athletic with the two of them on the floor.

Remember, Olukemi was on campus, but not playing this time next year.  Though he didn’t play in a Big 12 game, he is at least familiar with the environment.  Olukemi is averaging 15 points per game over his last 6 games and has made 29 of 39 field goals over that span.

OSU’s win started on the defensive end.  The Cowboys held the ‘Cats to 35 percent shooting and just 29 percent from three-point range.  OSU came up with 11 steals and forced 21 Kansas State turnovers10 combined by starting forwards Jamar Samuels and Wally Judge.

The Cowboys double-teamed on ball screens and on the ball out on the perimeter.  The Wildcats never really adjusted.  Jacob Pullen is a terrific player, but is still learning how to play the point. 

Kansas State played without forward Curtis Kelly who is serving an NCAA suspension, but the Cowboys are without starting point guard Fred Gulley for the season after his shoulder surgery.

OSU must go to Texas A&M for a late Wednesday night game.  The Aggies are the hottest team in the Big 12.  Their win over OU Saturday was their 11th straight. 

Then it’s on to Boulder for a game next Saturday against the Buffs who got 36 points from super soph Alec Burks in the blowout of 8th-ranked Missouri in the conference opener. 

Because of the late start Wednesday night and early start Saturday, the Cowboys will fly directly from College Station to Boulder.

Saturday’s win assures the Cowboys of at least a 1-2 start to league play.  If they can go  2-1 or 3-0 over that stretch, look out.