By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State has had nearly a week to dissect and learn from its first loss, a five-point defeat to a Memphis team the Cowboys had beaten by 21 just two weeks before.
“We obviously weren’t excited with the way we played,” Cowboy coach Travis Ford said. “... I think our guys are pretty disappointed with how we played, and it’s actually been a good lesson learned. It takes a little while to get it to sink in and get better and better from things that we saw and have to make sure we get them corrected.”
Some of the troubles for the Cowboys came with a rough night for sophomore point guard Marcus Smart. The future NBA Draft Lottery pick had his worse shooting performance of the season - going 4 for 13 (30 percent) to finish with 12 points - which was coupled with Smart battling illness.
“We’ve got to come with it every day, we’ve got to stay focused and maintain it. We lost a little bit of our focus that night and we paid for it,” Smart said. “We ended up on the other end of the stick this time, and it’s not a good feeling for us.”
The Cowboys admitted the game was just a weird situation with the team seeming out of sync throughout the contest.
“It was pretty obvious that we were out of sync during the game - a lot of outside distractions, people being sick and whatever,” sophomore post player Kamari Muphy said. “So we just never got on track like we normally are. That was one of the issues we had, and it kind of took away from our game plan.”
Now, the OSU men’s basketball team will take on a South Carolina team coached by former Kansas State coach Frank Martin at 8:30 p.m. Friday as part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge - which be televised on ESPNU.
The Gamecocks come into Gallagher-Iba Arena with a 2-2 record with their losses being to Baylor - a two-point loss in Waco, Texas - and a 14-point loss at Clemson. They haven’t played a game since Nov. 24, when they top Florida International, 84-72.
“It’s a team that’s going to cause some teams a lot of damage because they’ve got talent - a lot more than he had on last year’s team,” Ford said. “... It’s a typical Frank Martin team, they are very physical defensively, going to play great defense and will be great at offensive rebounding.”
As for freshman point guard Stevie Clark, Ford was noncommittal on his status for the game. Ford would not say if Clark, who was suspended and sent home from the Old Spice Classic in Florida, if he would be available for the game, but did reiterate Clark is still with the team.
“Absolutely, he’s with the team,” Ford said. “He was never not, as far as not being a part of our basketball team. I know there were things that got out there, but that just goes to show you, where some of it came from is beyond me.”
Ford has not detailed as to why Clark was suspended from the team. The freshman from Douglass is averaging 9.8 points and 5 assists per game off the bench as Smart’s backup at point guard.