By Derek Brown
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Robert Morris is best known for beating Kentucky in the first round of the NIT last year 59-57. The Cowboys know that a 5-8 Colonials team is not to be taken lightly.
Oklahoma State will host Robert Morris at 6 p.m. Monday to close out its non-conference schedule.
“When they beat Kentucky it got everybody’s attention. They have their top two leading scorers back and they are two of the prolific scorers you’ll go against as far as two guards that can score from 3s, from off the dribble and overall Robert Morris is one of the top three shooting teams we’ll play,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said.
Robert Morris is coming off of a loss at Oakland, 100-94. The Cowboys are riding a string of success with four straight wins. Oklahoma State is flawless at home at 6-0. Robert Morris is just 2-7 while traveling.
With the Colonials having beaten a powerhouse team, the Cowboys know that anything can happen on any given night. That is why No. 7 ranked Oklahoma State is going to show up and play to the best of its ability.
“I feel like (Robert Morris) has been preparing for us for awhile. They know everything about us,” Oklahoma State junior Brian Williams said. “That’s a trap game. We don’t want to fall.”
The Colonials’ win over Kentucky in the NIT a season ago has the Cowboys focused.
“It lets us know they’re not just any other team. They have potential to be a pretty good team,” Williams said. “They probably run the same offense, same system to beat a powerhouse like Kentucky. We’ll just be prepared.”
The Cowboys will come into their home game with an 11-1 record. Despite a good record Oklahoma State still has things that can be better.
“I still think there’s a lot of room for improvement. I think we’ve played in spurts a little too much,” Ford said. “There’s a lot of areas that we need to get better at before heading into league play.”
Robert Morris will be Oklahoma State’s final non-conference game before heading to Manhattan, Kan., to take on Kansas State in the Cowboys’ Big 12 opener.
“We haven’t played well but we’ve been able to win and that says a lot about this team,” Markel Brown said. “Everyone is overachieving in this league right now. It’s going to be another tough year in the Big 12.”
OSU will have a tough road ahead of them as they head into conference play. The Big 12 has four teams ranked in the Top 25 and has two teams that received votes.
“I think the league has proven everybody wrong. I thought the league was always going to be better than what everybody gave it credit for but I’m even a little surprised at how everybody is doing at this point. It’s exciting for our league,” Ford said.
Oklahoma State is coming off of a 78-73 victory over Colorado in the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas, Nev., on Dec. 21. The Cowboys have had some time off but have not missed a beat.
“I was happy the way that they came back. They seemed in decent shape,” Ford said.
Markel Brown was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 23. This was the first time in his career that Brown was given the honor.
“Markel Brown’s been nothing short of phenomenal. His stats are off the charts. I’d put his stats up against anybody in America,” Ford said.
Brown averaged 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in wins against Delaware State and Colorado.
“It was good feeling to be recognized as the Big 12 Player of the Week. There’s a lot of great players in this league and to be recognized as player of the week is a big thing,” Brown said.