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December 29, 2010

OSU basketball players head to Washington to meet Gonzaga

STILLWATER, Okla. — With the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team hitting the skies for its final non-conference road game on Friday, the game will serve a precursor of things to come in the Big 12 Conference season.

The Cowboys will be making yet another trip to the coast, this time to the Great Northwest, as they face off with Gonzaga at 9 p.m. in Spokane, Wash. The Zags have lost just one home game this year — a 79-76 defeat on Nov. 16 to then-ranked No. 25 San Diego State.

“You’ve got to take the good with the bad with this trip,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “The good is, it’s against great competition and something that will help us prepare for the Big 12 and the great environment that we’ll be playing in on national television. So this could really help us a lot in preparing for the Big 12 and get a feel for what it’s going to be like and what we need to prepare for.

“The negative is, you don’t want to be traveling that far out west at this time of year because it wears your team down. But we’re going to use this as a way to hopefully make our team a lot better and prepare us for the Big 12.”

The Bulldogs (7-5) have already proven themselves worthy against Big 12 opponents. Gonzaga topped then-ranked No. 9 Baylor on Dec. 18 at a neutral site in Dallas — which essentially served as a home game for the Bears from Waco, Texas. The Zags were also on the losing end to a top-tier Big 12 foe when fourth-ranked Kansas State defeated Gonzaga 81-64 in the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 22.

“They’ve already beaten one Big 12 team in Baylor and have played in some very good games,” Ford said. “... You start watching their early (season) games to their later games right now and they are just a totally different team. They are getting more production off their bench, they’re getting contributions from a lot more guys than they were earlier in the year and that’s why they are playing much better right now and are playing like one of the top 20 teams in the country — especially at home, which they are a top 10 team when they are playing at home.”

 

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