By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Oklahoma State men’s basketball team found itself in rough waters for the first time this season with the Cowboys’ experiencing their first losing streak this season after back-to-back losses to Gonzaga and the Big 12 Conference opener at Kansas State.
“You can’t dwell on the past. You’ve got let those two games go through one ear and out the other,” OSU freshman point guard Marcus Smart said. “That night, dwell on them. New day, you’ve got to let it pass and get ready for the next game. This is temporary. We’re close, we’ve just got to get over the hump.”
That next game is Wednesday against Texas Christian University, which comes in Gallagher-Iba Arena with a 9-5 record following a 62-53 loss to Texas Tech in its conference opener. While TCU may be the perfect team to help the Cowboys right the ship, they aren’t taking the Horned Frogs lightly, either.
“At this point, we’re not really looking at who they are, TCU. They’ve been struggling here and there, but we can’t look at that at this point,” Smart said. “This is conference play, this is when it counts. So everybody is going to be trying to play their best ball and do whatever they can to help their team win. We’ve got to go out there and take every team like it’s the No. 1 team in the country.”
Smart knows about playing the best ball. The freshman point guard from Flower Mound, Texas, was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week thanks to back-to-back career performances against top 25 teams — though both came in losses.
“People told me you don’t have to get him ready for the big ones, it’s the others that he may sleepwalk through the other ones,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “But I haven’t seen it because I thought he played just as well against the Tennessee Techs, but I do believe he has another gear. I think he realizes the difference between Kansas State and Tennessee Tech.”
While Smart scored more than 20 points in both contests, he averaged just 4 assists from the point — including just 2 against Kansas State. The low assist output against the Wildcats rippled across the team as the Cowboys finished with a mere 6 assists — the fewest for OSU this season.
“There were two serious concerns for me — five offensive rebounds on 29 missed shots, and we had six assists,” Ford said. “... How do we only get (six) assists? They were giving us the drive. ... I’m a little shocked they did that to us and maybe thought we could handle the pressure and just let us keep shooting layups. But 67 points should be enough for us to win.”